Strength vs Cardio, New Gear, Running Club, The One Challenge

Hi and welcome to another week,

A million thanks to everyone who got along to the gym last week – particularly to everyone who got along when the weather turned ‘evil’ on Wednesday and Thursday.  Remember, the only workout you will ever regret is the one you decided not to do…if it is raining outside, you will be OK at the gym (‘cos we train inside!).  Get along and get it done.

I will comment about the challenge later in the blog but I have to say the thing I love about challenges is seeing so many people in the gym before/after classes grinding through their ‘extras’.  It really is amazing how much difference that extra 15-minutes each session can make to the progress you are able to make – it might be as simple as a 15-minute run or 15-minute squat progression or as complicated as some of the core programs we have put together for challenge participants…either way, that little bit of ‘EXTRA’ effort is the way to crank up your progress!

Watching the extras getting done and thinking about this week’s blog has gotten me thinking about the age-old strength versus cardio question when it comes to your training.  I have no doubt if you took a ‘straw poll’ of people you would get a pretty equal split of answers both in terms of what they ‘prefer’ to do and what is ‘better’ for them – and further I have no doubt that each of the answers you get is probably ‘right’.  But it also got me thinking about the way we structure our session plans at Round 1 and the way the cardio/strength components are split – and to be honest my own sporting experience/training experience obviously plays a part in all of this.

Having come from primarily an aerobically based, team-sports background, it is pretty safe to say that cardio based ‘conditioning’ efforts are always going to be at the core of my training and the planning I do for both classes and individuals at the gym. At the same time – having experienced situations first hand where other competitors have been ‘better’ because they were stronger there will always be strength based components in any training I do.  I guess to use the common fitness industry comparison of a car – you need to make sure you have a motor (cardio) and you need to make sure all of the components are in place to get the power of that motor onto the ground and moving along the street (strength).

What does that mean?  Well, if all you are doing is cardio – awesome.  You are going to have a big motor but probably wont be able to use it in any meaningful way (unless of course all of the meaning you are looking for is breaking the 3-hour mark for a marathon).  If all you are doing is strength, well, of course the opposite is true…you might look pretty good but wont be able to get anywhere in order to use it!

As it says on the wall in the gym, our ‘CORE’ workout (30-40 mins) should include at least 8-minutes of ‘strength’ work.  What it doesn’t exactly say is what the rest of the time should be spend doing except for the generic ‘interval training’.  So again, what is it to be?  Strength or cardio?

If you consider that a ‘Pull-up’ (and I picked this because improving pull-ups was the focus of more ‘The One’ challenge wish lists than any other) is a strength movement and imagine that the first thing you did when you got to the gym was to try and do as many as you could, how many would you/could you do?

From there imagine a scenario where instead of just going straight to the pull-up bar, you jumped on the assault bike and did 30 calories as fast as you could and THEN tried to do as many pull-ups as you could?  How many would you get then?  The same?  More?  Less?  Well after getting involved in a discussion on this subject during the week, I actually I tried it out to test the results.

Pull-ups straight away:  23 reps (strict).

Pull-ups after 30-cal bike sprint:  15 reps (strict).

I promise I tried as hard as possible with both the pull-ups and the bike (bike was 38 seconds for 30 calories) and didn’t ‘cheat’ the numbers to try and support my own belief system!…that said, the outcome represents a massive drop off which on the surface doesn’t make a lot of sense.  After all, there is no way that riding the assault bike – even riding the assault bike as hard as you can – should decrease your ability to do pull-ups by more than 30%.  Yet it did.  So what is going on and what does it all mean?

I have been trying to do some reading on this during the week to get some information on what is ‘REALLY’ going on (if you are interested I found this journal article pretty helpful:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6153284_Strength_Training_and_Aerobic_Exercise_Comparison_and_Contrast) because it certainly doesn’t make complete sense that a cardio effort would cause strength performance to fall away so much…or (as anyone who did TANKS during the past week with the split between the barbell circuit and bike calories) whilst it makes some sense that strength efforts – particularly leg based – will cause your cardio efforts to fall away, the extent to which it happens is WAY worse than you expect…

So where is this going?  If you spend your time splitting your training into dedicated cardio sessions and dedicated strength sessions, then you will (no doubt) improve and develop your performance in each of those areas.  Your cardio will improve AND your strength will improve – but because you are separating your training across the two ‘modes’ (for want of a better word) you wont improve your ability to operate in an environment where you need to change focus areas frequently – in other words, such as in events like the various adventure races as well as sports such as basketball, netball, football, rugby, soccer etc.

I guess that is what we are trying to re-create at Round 1.  An environment where we are continually switching between cardio and strength modes (assault bikes, rowers, skis, kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells) OR boxing which by its very nature involves BOTH throughout each session.  Now, whilst it remains true that someone who is just flat out stronger than the person remaining alongside them will not necessarily get the same ‘effect’ of the training mode changes if both of them are using the same weights during the strength activities (obviously stronger people wont need as big a % of muscle fibres to complete the same task as some who is not as strong!), I guess there are two things we try to do to overcome this effect of ‘creeping excellence’.  First off, there are a range of weights available to enable people to increase the volume as they become stronger – remember, once upon a time the heaviest barbell in our gym was 15kg!  Secondly, the way our sessions are planned the person who finishes ‘first’ should have other tasks to go on with which SHOULD mean that they simply complete a greater VOLUME of work.

All of this of course assumes one really basic thing – EFFORT.  As I often say at footy, you can’t coach effort – you can talk about technique and the ‘HOW’ as much as you like but no matter what the coach says, unless EFFORT is high, the outcomes wont be.  (Language warning:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2FwDM5VGJ8)  So…as long as you are putting in the work, the sessions at the gym are looking after the cardio/strength mix and should have you in great shape.  BUT – as always – if you need to either build that motor (cardio) or get a bit stronger, come and talk to us about what can be achieved with just an extra 15-minutes of work at the end of each class!

See you in the gym,

Michael.

Gym Update #1 – ‘The ONE’ Challenge

Three (3) weeks down and all is well.  I know I am really battling with my ‘ONE’ food challenge (eat 3x meals each day) primarily because there just isn’t anywhere near enough time in the day to eat three meals!  I have been bringing in some breakfast to eat each morning (overnight oats) rather than relying on cooking up some bacon and eggs mid-morning when I (hopefully) get home for a couple of hours.

The problem of course is that if I get home mid-morning having eaten overnight oats at 8am (or 9am depending on PT commitments), then I struggle to eat what would be meal number 2 (lunch I guess??)…back to the gym for a few hours, pick up DJ from school then off to footy or work until 9pm – somehow whether I bring breakfast into work or wait until 10:30am to eat it at home is still translating into two (2) meals per day…Something to keep working on that’s for sure.

If you haven’t booked in your session to go through your training plan progress with me yet, please be sure you do so – session times are available from 4pm on MONDAY June 26th.  Good luck!

Gym Update #2 – Round 1 “Help Line”

This is a repeat of last week’s note – as mentioned, stay tuned as we continue to build our database!

Been spending a bit of time working on getting a database of specialist services together lately – trying to use the experience we have garnered in the past Seven (7) years in Cockburn to be able to offer pretty basic consults for people who need help with medical services, external training services and a few other things.  The way I see this working is that if you need some physio help, we connect you with the physio and are able to discuss the issue with them directly before you arrive for your appointment (and in theory we can set up the appointments but that is a bit more of a work in progress).  Same for chiro, podiatry, OT…you name it.  Same for specialist training services (sprint coaching, olympic lifting etc).  Whilst I wish we could cover EVERYTHING in house, it simply isn’t realistic given the wide range of specialist services people are chasing…

Anyway, in the short-term, if you need help with something and you are a member of the gym, dont be shy about asking for help and we can get you in touch with the people best positioned to help you.

Gym Update #3 – New Gear and other Stuff

So…the gloves and MMA gloves still aren’t here – 100% they just have to arrive this week!  Please just keep asking us for them when you get into the gym.

A limited number of new hoodies will also be in the gym pretty soon.  Just as an FYI, as with last years hoodies we probably WONT allow the use of Perkville points for these items – sorry about this everyone but the Perkville program does allow everyone to get their gloves/wraps etc (not to mention personal training sessions!) at pretty much less than cost price and we just cannot support that when it comes to the hoodies.

There are also a heap of new dead balls/slam balls on the way…I know a few more have split and am doing what I can to try and keep up with demand…please do keep in mind these balls are > $100 each and to just trivially throw them away is not the greatest plan ever.

Gym Update #4 – Running Club Off and Running

Running club was a bit quiet today but well done to all who participated.  We completed a series of 400m sprints followed by 200m recovery runs (no walking permitted in betwee)…as the guys will tell you, this is and was W-A-Y harder than it sounds!

If you still want to jump in – jump in.  As I have been saying, if you follow the plan you WILL get to the end of the City to Surf event in great shape!  Next week we will be meeting up at Cottesloe Beach for a 8km saunter down the coast followed by a coffee…hoping we get a few people making the trip.

Homework for this week?  2x 30 minute runs – but really push it along.  If you need to stop and walk a little that’s fine but when you are running I want you going HARD…not quite at that 400m pace we were on today but not far off it.  Give it a go!

Gym Update – Footy Tipping and Fantasy

OK – so the results roller-coaster continued but despite all of the close games this weekend it seems most people ended up on the ‘right side’ of the ledger…with I think 5-games decided by less than a goal though things could have been so much different!  We had FIFTEEN tipsters select 7/9 winners, and another SIXTEEN select 6/9…so overall there wasn’t much movement on top of the ladder.  ’Dazza’ has joined Michael Campbell on top of the table and there is a chasing pack of FIVE tipsters just 2-points behind.

It was the first round of Fantasy in 3-weeks and it was nice to be playing matches again.  Scoring was only ‘OK’ in our league this week and it seems the bye-rounds might have caught a few coaches out…Good scores were recorded by Brian Smith (You kick like a girl), Liam B (Jaegerbomb) and Daniel Augustine (Wooshas Pharmaceuticals).

Link of the Week

An always good list of ‘stuff’ – this week, four mistakes you are ‘probably’ making in your warm-ups!  http://bonvecstrength.com/2017/01/16/4-warm-up-mistakes-youre-probably-making/

Some people would say that arriving late to class and missing the warm-up is the single biggest mistake of all…and I am one of those people.  If you go into the class ‘cold’, you are not going to get going properly for another 10-minutes or so as you slowly wind into the session.  Want to get the most out of your session?  Complete the warm-up and complete it properly.