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Tips of the week Use fitness training to build muscle

Tipps der Woche Verwende Konditionstraining, um Muskeln aufzubauen

You can't get better without fitness

If your conditioning is good, then you can generate a significant amount of strength during most, if not all, of your training sessions. This means more volume with more weight on the bar for the same amount of time as before.

Having good conditioning is a crucial aspect if you want to get better. The ability to do a significant amount of work during a training session will take you further in the strength and hypertrophy department. Even if you're not looking to get leaner, conditioning should still be a part of your training program.

The foundation

Let's say you've been one of those guys training in the 3 reps per set range for months. You're one of those guys who thinks that anything over 5 reps is cardio. What should you do then?

If you haven't done any cardio training, then build your base with walking. By this I mean fast walking at a useful speed and not what you see old people doing in the shopping mall. There should be some knee to chest action here.

A simple and easy way to approach walking is to pick a fixed distance and try to reduce the time it takes you to walk that distance. Leave your home, walk for 10 minutes, make a note of the place you have reached in 10 minutes and then walk back. From here on, simply work on reducing the amount of time it takes you to cover the same distance without sprinting at any point.

Once you've worked your way down from 20 to 15 minutes, you can add in some slow jogging at some point in the run. Take it easy. It doesn't have to be a long jog. It's just about increasing the intensity a little. After a few weeks, add another phase of jogging to your walk.

Once you're able to cover the same distance in 10 to 12 minutes, you're ready for an interval plan that will really increase your work capacity and lead to far more productive workouts in the gym.

The sprint plan

This is a very simple plan that you can incorporate into your training program. It can be done twice a week on days without a weights workout.

  • Week 1 :10 sprints @ 60% of maximum speed over 40 meters
  • Week 2 :10 sprints @ 70% of maximum speed over 40 meters
  • Week 3 :12 sprints @ 70% of maximum speed over 40 meters
  • Week 4 :15 sprints @ 75% of maximum speed over 40 meters
  • Week 5 :20 sprints @ 80% of maximum speed over 40 meters
  • Week 6 :20 sprints @ 85% of maximum speed over 40 meters

Your breaks simply consist of walking the 40 meters back to the starting point. Remember the purpose of the exercise. You are not trying to prepare for the 100 meters at the next Olympics. The goal is simply to improve your fitness to the point where you can recover more easily from your workout in the weight room.

You don't need to do more fitness training over time. You just need to get in good enough shape and maintain a level of conditioning that is sufficient for your weight training.

However, if you want to increase the amount of conditioning training after week 6, simply increase the amount of sprints you do or the distance you sprint. I don't recommend 100% sprints as these are a good recipe for injury. However, you can sprint uphill, which will make the sprints a little safer as the stride length will be shorter and the risk of a hamstring strain will be reduced.

Training with a weight sled or on a training bike works just as well. You can use the same concept as above with some minor adjustments for training with a weight sled. For an exercise bike, my recommendations are even simpler:

A simple conditioning workout on the training bike

  • Ride as fast as possible for 15 seconds
  • Follow this with 45 seconds of easy cycling
  • Repeat the whole thing 12 to 15 times.

Tip: Stop drinking juice

Thinking about a juice cleanse and detox? Don't. And send this suggestion to one of the gals who follows these silly celebrity diets.

From TC Luoma


Drinking lots of juice is not healthy. Juice is high in calories, low in fiber, low in nutrients and will eventually make you fat.

There are countless juice bars with lines of yoga pants-wearing women waiting to order their supposedly healthy kale and kumquat creations. And when they're not lining up there for these drinks, they're filling their shopping carts with products with names like Renovation and Glow, which promise to fill their cells with hydration and nutrients, restore their acid-base balance and cleanse the body of toxins and waste. They are said to make hair shiny, skin soft, energize, clear the mind and make the immune and digestive systems impervious to pathogens and other threats.

Some of these bottles cost a small fortune and the taste ranges from delicious to something that tastes like it's been filtered through the sweat-soaked underpants of a sumo wrestler. The problem with these drinks is that they serve none of their purported physiological or medicinal purposes. Of course, habitual juice drinkers may lose weight depending on what their juice consists of and whether they make other improvements to their diet, but much of this will be water weight that will quickly come back when they eat normal, solid food. Much of the other weight they lose will be muscle mass - the stuff primarily responsible for giving women shape, not to mention strength and vitality.

And unfortunately, a lot of the weight that was initially lost will be put back on in the form of fat. Fruits and vegetables contain simple sugars and more complex, hard-to-digest carbohydrates. That's great, but when you put them through the blender, these normally hard-to-digest carbs are broken down into tiny little pieces that are so small that they bypass much of the digestive process.

You end up with a heavy insulin spike and insulin sends some of all that sugar to your muscles (only if the muscles need the sugar at the time, of course) and probably more of it to your liver where it is converted to fatty acids aka fat - fat that is stored on your belly, thighs, butt or other places where you have a predisposition to fat storage.

Volume also needs to be considered. When it comes to volume, it's easier to eat pulverized fruits and vegetables than to eat them in their natural form. Non-powdered plant material takes up a lot of space and tells your brain that you are full. Juices, however, don't take up as much space. You might eat a peach and two or three plums in one sitting, but you can easily consume five or six of both at once if they're in liquid form.

More fruit equals more calories and more fruit equals more sugar. More fruit equals more sugar, which is converted into fat. And it gets worse. Obsessive juice consumption doesn't provide enough nutrients to maintain good health, so you risk throwing your metabolic or electrical system off track.

In addition, juicing destroys fiber, so your gut flora doesn't get enough nourishment. Of course you can keep drinking juice, but don't attribute any health benefits to juice and enjoy it in moderation.

Tip: Train hard, train wisely

Keep these 15 things in mind and you're in for a long training career

By Bret Contreras


If you know enough about anatomy, physiology and strength training, then you could make a case that any given exercise should be avoided. In turn, however, you could also find a rationale for why any given exercise should be performed.

You need to know how you want to train. Whether you play it safe or take risks, at least you're not just sitting on the couch. Pain and injury will teach you proper exercise form and program design, and it's important to have a large arsenal of exercises to avoid boredom and habituation and force further adaptations.

Here are 15 things to remember to keep learning and practicing:

  1. An exercise should be judged on how it should be performed, not on how some idiot messes up the execution.
  2. If you think training with weights is dangerous, then try being weak. Being weak is dangerous.
  3. There are no contraindicated exercises, only contraindicated individuals. Learn how your body works and master its mechanics.
  4. If you can't perform an exercise correctly, don't do it. If an exercise consistently causes pain, don't do it. If you consistently hurt yourself doing an exercise, don't do it.
  5. Earn the right to perform an exercise. Correct any dysfunction and learn to perform the movement pattern with your bodyweight only before increasing the weight
  6. There is a risk-reward continuum and some exercises are safer than others. It's up to you where you draw the line. Don't moan about your lack of progress or poor joint health as you've brought this on yourself
  7. Exercises that are performed poorly are dangerous, while exercises that are performed correctly are beneficial. If you use a crappy form of exercise execution, you will injure yourself - it's just a matter of time
  8. If you have optimal levels of joint mobility, stability and motor control, then you will be able to distribute forces much better and be able to tolerate higher volume, higher intensity and higher training frequency
  9. Structural balance is crucial. You need to strengthen your joints in opposite ways to ensure that your posture doesn't change. If your posture gets worse because of strength training, it means you're bad at putting together a training program.
  10. Body tissues adapt to get stronger and withstand the load. The body is a living organism that adapts to the demands placed on it.
  11. Your training will be based on your needs, your goals and your preferences. Different goals require different training methods. The loftier your goal, the more risk will be required.
  12. There are two types of stress: positive stress, also known as eustress, and negative stress. Try to work in the area of eustress - a type of positive, motivating, exciting stress that you can handle - and you'll be on the right track.
  13. If you believe an exercise will injure you, it probably will.
  14. Injuries in the weight room have more to do with poor form and poor program design than the exercise itself. Exercises are just tools. You are the craftsman. A good craftsman never blames his tools.
  15. Instead of being driven by popular trends, learning how your body works will bear more fruit, allowing you to understand the pros and cons of each exercise and make smart choices when putting together your training program.

Tip: Avoid labels that make you a victim

Perceived helplessness will contribute to you staying out of shape. Here's why.

By Dani Shugart


Want to get in shape? Then develop an attitude of unwavering determination and a firm belief that you can change. Do you want to stay stuck where you are now? Then develop the belief that you are suffering from a disease and that it is out of your control. The American Medical Association (AMA) could help obese people do the latter.

The study

Researchers studied the behavior of obese people who had read an article regarding the AMA's decision to label obesity as a disease. Those who had read the article were more likely to choose high-calorie foods and less likely to restrict their food intake than those who had not read the article. According to the study, the only benefit of believing they suffered from a disease was that these subjects were more accepting of their bodies as a result.

What does this tell us

Believing that your weight problem is a disease will make you more likely to accept that you are overweight. If, on the other hand, you believe that you have a problem that is controllable, reversible and preventable and that it is within your power to change, then you are more likely to make a change and make the commitment to lose weight.

The self-esteem of the subjects in this study, may have increased as a result of the statement that improved their body image, but is this form of body love worth type 2 diabetes, a dependence on medication and a shorter life span? Obesity is not reduced by making people feel better about their excess weight and neither is a false sense of helplessness and invented victimhood.

What can you learn from this?

The AMA's chatter keeps people fat. A better message might be that even though genetic predispositions or diseases may be partly responsible for obesity, this doesn't mean you have to accept it and continue eating without restraint.

You are not helpless when it comes to your fitness level and quality of life. Accept this and you will realize that new and better behavior patterns can reduce the problem. The first step is to stop seeing yourself as a victim.

Mentioned in passing

Even if you are not obese, you may have accepted other things as unavoidable and unchangeable. You may have accepted that it is your destiny to be skinny fat, unathletic, a hardgainer, a junk food addict, a weakling, a wallflower or a person without self-discipline. If you have accepted these or other self-limiting labels, then you should realize that you will not meet high expectations.

There is a good chance that these things are within your control. You just need to shed the helpless role of the sufferer and do something about it.


  1. Hoyt, Crystal L., Jeni L. Burnette, and Lisa Auster-Gussman. "Obesity Is a Disease" Psychological Science, Jan. 24, 2014. Web. 9 Dec. 2014.
  2. "Labeling obesity as a disease may have psychological costs - association for psychological science." Association for Psychological Science. 28 Jan. 2014.


By Paul Carter

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