Today I saw a video taken of me on Dec 25 (today is March 7) and I judged that I looked to be in better shape (at least belly-fat wise) ~70 days ago. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to navigate my HIT training to make “real progress”. I’ve recently come to believe that a two-week rest is significantly better for me when doing an Inverted Pyramid style workout. But today I was somewhat conflicted whether to do my Pilates and/or my Power Yoga on the day after my workout (which also happens to be a kind of fast day, or protein fast day – I’ve had only bulletproof coffee till about 12:30, then IsaCleanse 2x4oz through the afternoon, then at 18:3016 grams of protein from grass-fed whey, then about 3oz of Bravo yogurt, now another IsaCleanse 4oz before bed.
I’m not clear whether I should avoid my Yoga – that great-looking guy on Christmas was doing a lot of Yoga, and had been doing HIIT. (I can’t recall just when in December I discontinued HIIT, but I do judge it pumped me up, and now I see Doug McGuff say below that HIIT can be incorporated with HIT:
I have read Body by Science. Based on it, I understand that “aerobics” (one repetitive activity done at a constant pace for 20+ minutes) is nonsensical. Thanks!!! However, does that also relate to HIIT workouts? To what extent would HIIT interfere with the 7-10 day recovery period after an HIT workout as desribed in Body by Science? I am one who is recovering from back surgery and the BodyBlade has been recommended to me — will using it multiple times a week be counterproductive or interfere with my HIT recovery? Will yoga interfere with HIT recovery? Will resistance stretching (see the “Genius of Flexibility”)
I am concerned about doing things that would interfere with the HIT recovery, or would be a waste of time or be counterproductive. My reading of Body by Science is that everything done in the 7-10 day recovery period is useless or will cause problems. True???
Doug McGuff M.D. writes:
…HIIT can be incorporated with HIT. Whether it interferes with recovery at a given volume and frequency should be revealed on your workout record. Remember you should be getting progressively stronger, feeling above the baseline more days than below the baseline and you should not experience injury or overuse symptoms.
I’ve been doing Mcguffs stuff for 2.5 years now and plateaued both in weight and mass size. I am pretty strong, but now growing/stretching my limits. You’re either growing or you’re dying right?
I take whey, creatine, alc carnitine, Zma, magnesium malate, vit D K codliver
what has been found around this?
A couple of questions:
Have you continued to increase weight or time under load every time you train?
Has your percentage of body fat plateaued as well?
Higher intensity / lower volume – If you have plateaued in the amount of work that you do when you train, you may need to decrease the frequency of your workouts. When one gets really strong relative to their size, you may need to reduce your training frequency to as little as once per month to continue to experience gains in muscle mass and strength.
Following the less gets you more idea, you may want to pair down the number of exercises you do to just 3.
Training hack 2nd dose – McGuff has also experimented with a very interesting and counter intuitive hack. Go back to the gym the day after your primary workout. You probably have intense muscle soreness if you trained to your limit the previous day. Do the same set of exercises, but add maybe 10% to 15% weight beyond your previous day’s limit. Don’t go for your full time under load of your regular workout. Lift slowly and deliberately, but just a rep or two. One often finds that the weights, which seemed impossibly heavy the previous day, will feel impossibly light the second day.
McGuff theorized that this kind of second day training works by administering a second dose (like a booster shot) at the point of maximum inflammation from the first dose. This can propel you through plateaus. Do this cautiously. You will probably need to space workouts even further apart to optimize its use. Think of it as a radical muscle/strength gain protocol.
Nerves – Some of functional strength comes from neurological training. One can have very significant increases in functional strength without actually building new muscle mass. Building new muscle mass once you have trained/conditioned your nervous system to managing your muscles under heavy loads gets even harder. Also, our nervous system can trick us. It can sometimes just tell our bodies, “this feels to heavy I won’t have any part of it”. The signals your nervous system receives through your bare hands in a pressing move, even with weight you know you can easily handle can sometimes short circuit your ability to move the weight. You can sometimes trick your nervous system by using pads or heavily padded gloves in pressing movements, or even tying thick pads of neoprene (wet suit material) to the bottom of your shoes when you do leg presses.
It proves much easier to loose fat than to build muscle. Building muscle takes lots of time, adequate nutrition, and probably lots of calories. One typically has to eat big to get big.
Other activity – You probably already know this if you’ve followed a McGuff program for a couple of years, but also give some thought to any other strenuous physical activity you do. You may want to curtail other activities during a period when you want focus on packing on muscle.
Steroids – Judicious use of anabolic steroids can help a lot. Keeping gains achieved under them can make for a daunting task.
Nutrition – Nutritionally, consider adding BCAA’s and upgraded whey and collagen. The collagen might just help your joints sustain the demands you place on them.
Post work out – Rather than drinking a bunch of carbs to spike your insulin (hoping to drive nutrition into the taxed muscle cells and shift you from a catabolic to an anabolic state) try simply rinsing your mouth out with some very sugary drink – fruit juice, even sugar water. Don’t swallow it. This strange thing can trigger the body to shift from a catabolic state to an anabolic one without a lot of the detrimental affects of ingesting the carbs. A controversial but low risk hack.
A few brief additional thoughts. Outside of adolescence and anabolic steroids, building more than 1 to 2 pounds of muscle per month becomes very difficult, so keep your expectations in perspective. That said, put on 16 lbs of muscle in a year’s time without increasing your body fat, and I’d wager you feel like a superhero!
Mark Rippetoe in his book, Starting Strength, recommends simply adding a gallon of whole milk per day to your current diet and doing progressive weight training (described in the book). Probably works. Absolutely works for adolescents or anyone taking steroids.
You could hack his recommendations on a couple of fronts. Body by Science (with some of the tweaks I’ve described above) + a gallon of raw whole milk from pastured cows. Might just get you what you want while keeping you largely BulletProof.
Later, Andreas wrote:
StackExchange for Bio & Brain site
I’m going to contact Andreas, who’s thinking I’m very impressed with. Done 2015-03-08 at 12:48 PM. – Jerome
Also found a very interesting thread on Serious Strength arguing for even shorter, heaver efforts
I’ve wondered about this too: How is it that so many apparently reasonable people, with many successful trainees, have reached such different conclusions about exercise?
Do you think it’s possible McGuff’s workouts take longer to recover from?
I think he commonly has trainees use TULs of 2 minutes – some of the Body by Science videos on YouTube have guys doing sets that go even longer.
I noticed that I recover much more quickly when using shorter TULs – about 40 seconds or 2 20-30 second sets. Could it be that when you make huge inroads into your functional ability by using exaggerated TULs that it really could take 7 days or more to recover?
It’s possible but longer sets = lighter weights and in many cases much lighter. I think they also use set extenders. These can sure take their toll.
But I also think they don’t experiment enough to discover what really is possible.
I always find it amazing that a reasonably smart person like McGuff can’t figure out that is he is doing a set of anything that lasts longer than 40-70 seconds or so, the weight being used is too light. A 120 second set? If one of the goals of weight training is progressive overload it would take you a year or more to increase the load used in a 2 minute set to a weight that the person is already capable of lifting for 1 minute already.
Here’s what I do with my training and with clients that can tolerate it. I find a weight that is immovable. I’ll assist the lift to see if when the negative finished they can do one rep. Often this IS the case – they can’t start the positive, but if I help them complete the positive after they lower the weight down, they can indeed perform one rep. So we find that one rep or 2 rep weight.
Then I back off the weight until 3-5 reps are possible. 3-5 because of people’s fears, limitations, etc. Then we train using that weight and micro-load upwards from there. Withing a month they are doing 3 reps with the weight that they could only do 1 or 2 with.
You want to discover the heaviest weight possible in each exercise that brings about deep fatigue in 40-70 seconds. I have observed this working quite well for most people. However, some people just can’t or won’t go there so, you have got to use light weights (for them) and do the best you can to build some lean mass on them which is next to impossible training like this.