Thanks to all who got along to train with us last week – we really appreciate the support. The Boxing classes are continuing to develop and evolve – our efforts to ‘seamlessly’ integrate the various elements of each session (boxing, cardio and strength work) continues to get better and it is no surprise really that two of the ‘BEST’ classes I have done post-COVID were (I think) last week. Please don’t sleep on the Body Work sessions either – they really are a unique alternative in the gym at the moment and whilst I guess they are potentially a ‘bit much’ for newcomers, if you really are looking for a push that will be the place to find it.
Last week was also the release of our first post-COVID gym challenge – “Summer Slam 2020” – and if you are looking to get involved you can find all the info you need (including how to register) on the PORTAL!
Today I wanted to try and answer one of the more common questions I get asked at the gym is “Should I choose a weight that I can do ALL of the reps with – and do them faster – or choose a weight that is a really push for me to finish the workout with?”. This comes up in both the boxing and the strength gyms as people grapple with exactly WHEN to ‘go up’ in weight…WHEN to take on the next challenge I guess.
The correct answer (of course) is ‘It depends on what you are trying to achieve’.
First things first – you shouldn’t be increasing weight until you are doing your reps ‘PROPERLY’. There is no point in doing your squats with a heavier barbell if you are only squatting half-way down. Whilst I do occasionally joke about it with some people in boxing class, 20x half reps is (of course) not the same as 10x “GOOD” reps…in many ways it is actually a lot less. But let’s assume for the sake of this little newsletter that your form is “GOOD” and your ‘skill level’ would enable you to lift a heavier weight (but that it is going to be REALLY HARD).
So if we were to break your goals into two primary categories – increase athleticism AND weight loss – then the answers become a little more clear.
If you want to increase your ATHLETICISM – (in other words increase your SPEED and POWER) – well, you need to challenge your ability to maintain posture and position under load…which means that you need to increase the weight to a level where getting the ‘reps’ for that day is a REAL push.
If you want to focus on weight loss, well what you need to do is make sure you are continuously working throughout the session – which would mean (in principle – this is actually a pretty complicated question) selecting a weight that you were able to lift throughout the class. I’m going to come back to this in a minute but to summarise:
If the rep count for the day is 20 and your focus is ATHLETICISM, you should select a weight you could MAYBE lift for 20 reps. If your focus is weight loss, you should select a weight that you can lift for 22-25 reps and really focus on working with intensity through the session…quickly finishing the exercise and moving on to the next one.
Back to the weight loss question – I can hear the shaking of heads (can you hear heads shaking) at my answer. I mean, of course, if you take the approach of increasing athleticism (choosing the heavier weight) and you are eating a positive diet (fresh meat and veggies, limited ‘produced’ calories) and because of your choice of a heavier weight you are successful in GAINING MUSCLE, well, that will increase your metabolic rate which is going to assist with FAT loss vs Weight loss for the long-term…and after all, it is losing FAT rather than losing WEIGHT which is what we are really all about. Look – the ‘focus on weight loss’ question is a challenging one to answer because overall it is about calorie intake vs energy expenditure…I guess I have answered the way I have because CONTINUOUSLY working throughout the session will generally = HIGHER overall energy expenditure…and if the weight is too heavy then the tendency would be to stand there looking at it rather than LIFTING it. At the same time, of course there is a threshold where you should increase the weights you are using in order to increase energy expenditure and therefore increase weight loss potential. Like I said, it’s a bit of a tricky one!
What do I do? It depends to be honest. I take an approach where some days I select a weight that will be a real battle (whilst still maintaining good form), and others I select something a little lighter and try to really focus on moving quickly throughout the session…it depends on a lot of things to be honest – what the overall makeup of the session is (high cardio, high strength etc), how I am feeling (tired, sore), what sessions I have planned for the rest of the week, where I am at in my current training cycle. The one thing I try to do each day is put some thought into it – get the right weight for the session ahead rather than just selecting a weight (particularly in boxing sessions) because that is the one I “ALWAYS” use.
See you in the gym,
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