Sorry I have been away from the keyboard for awhile, but I have been keeping busy!
Although my knee hasn’t recovered as quickly as I hoped, I have been able to roll for the past two weeks. I’m still not quite 100% yet, but I would say I am around 87% combat effective. 🙂
To keep myself strong I have been doing some old-fashioned weight training. What does that mean? Well from my understanding of the human body, it is not possible to do a 100% muscle building and a 100% cardio workout. There are on opposite sides of the spectrum.
An easy way to understand this is the concept of intensity. Workout intensity means that you are putting the maximum amount of effort in the smallest time interval possible. For example, sprinting is the most intense running workout you can do. Long distance running (e.g. a marathon) is the least intense running exercise you can do. Both are great workouts, but they utilize different energy systems for fuel. It is not possible to effectively work both – it is either one or the other.
Now, a common misconception is that you can do intense workouts over a long period of time. For example, a workout consisting of a 60 minute sprint session is NOT an intense workout. You might be sprinting at 100% for the first 5-10 minutes, but afterwards you will retrograde into a fast jog; thus becoming a cardio workout. Intense workouts are short by nature. Small interval of 100% effort, followed by a long break that is at least 3 times longer than the actual workout (e.g. 10 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest). The moment you can no longer give 100%, the workout is done.
What is important to understand is that muscle growth is triggered by intensity. It is your body’s response to a high workload. Remember, your body doesn’t like having lots of muscles, because that means you require more energy to stay alive. Your body is a machine, and it tries to be as efficient as possible. It will only add muscle when it really, really needs it to survive. That is why people in comas shrivel up. The body sees that use of muscles is no longer required to survive, so it consumes the excess muscle tissue to allow for a much smaller energy input.
If you get this, then you see the dilemma – how do I build muscle and cardio at the same time? The answer is you can’t. You have to focus on one area in each workout. If you do all muscle building workouts, you will be like a muscle car with a gallon of gas. If you do all cardio, you will be a Prius, lol!
The compromise, is seasonal training. On your off season, you can do a lot of intense, muscle building workouts. Weight lifting, sprints, stairs, and other explosive workouts. It takes much longer to build muscle than stamina, so you can invest your time into becoming as strong as possible. When you are 12-9 weeks away from a competition, you switch gears and go into cardio mode. You will lose some muscle mass, but you will keep enough to make it worth your while. World class cardio can be developed in as little as 4 weeks if you train smart.
I will elaborate more on my methods in my next blog. Until then, see you at the gym 🙂