In the training world we often use analogies, simple sayings or pictures to convey our points. Why? Because they make it easier for people to understand a more complicated concept.
"Stimulate, Don't Annihilate" was made popular by bodybuilder Lee Haney. It's an easy way to think about much more complex issues: hypertrophy, recovery, muscle protein synthesis, program design, etc. It's too simplistic, but we all remember it.
Of course, other simple phrases like "eating fat makes you fat." ! "Made an entire generation of dieters even fatter by replacing all those evil avocados with processed carbohydrates.
The human brain loves powerful, easy-to-grasp ideas, and as we like to argue in our field, we often resort to these simple spells The problem is, many of them are misleading or even completely untrue, here are three of them:
1. "Sprinters are slimmer and more muscular than marathon runners , Therefore, high-intensity intervals are better than in-patient cardio. "
I admit, when I started as a coach, I also used this analogy, although I never knew it, so now I know it absolutely
First, all top sprinters have over 90 percent fast-twitch muscle fibers, suggesting an ACTN3 RR profile.Without going too deep into genetics, ACTN3 is the gene that enhances both your muscle type and your muscle's response training determines.
The ACTN3 profile, which occurs only in about 10 percent of the population, has a very high proportion of fast-twitch fibers Remember that fast twitch fibers have much greater growth potential, a larger mTOR – response to training (which means more protein synthesis) and a faster repair rate of muscle damage that will also lead to more growth.
Elite Endurance Sport ler – these are used in comparison to elite sprinters – are very slow twitching dominants. This shows an ACTN3 XX profile, which is found in 10-15 percent of the population.
This is the muscle profile "endurance": slower twitch fibers (lower growth potential), lower mTOR and greater AMPK (poor for muscle growth, good for endurance), slower muscle repair, but higher maximum VO2 and fat utilization capacity.
Put simply, those who reach a high sprint level have genetics to be fast, powerful, strong, and muscular in the beginning. Those who excel in endurance sports are the opposite.
Besides, Sprinters do a lot of heavy lifting. Heavy Benches, Squats, Power Cleans, Deadlifts, etc. These guys have pretty impressive numbers. Most Elite Sprinters squat in the 500s and bench presses in the mid 300-pound range. Some squat in the 600s and sit in the 400s. No world-class powerlifting numbers, but strong enough to build a ton of muscle along the way.
Have you ever taken an endurance athlete with a dumbbell? Neither do I! Well, seriously I have. And apart from a few smart exceptions, they all perform BOSU ball exercises, curl-lung combos and quarter squats, all in the range of 15 to 25 reps, "to work on stamina". And they do not train hard or push themselves.
They do not have great muscle building genetics, and they do nothing to stimulate muscle growth. Sprinters lift heavy; Marathon runner not. Is it so surprising that one is more muscular than the other?
And do you know what sprinters DO NOT do? Intervals! Sprinters do not make any intervals in their training, but their bodies are used to "prove" that intervals are better to give you a lean and muscular body. Do you see the problem there?
I trained sprinters, I trained with an athletics coach, I worked with Charlie Francis (former coach of Ben Johnson), I coach Bob athletes (who train like sprinters) and I have never used intervals.
A typical training session for a 100-meter sprinter consists of 4-6 sprints (30-100 meters, depending on the phase) with more than enough break between sets – up to 10 minutes between sprints. A good coach would never have a sprinter who performs intervals. It would kill his CNS and destroy his sprinting mechanics.
Sprint training is all about quality. And to achieve the best possible quality, they avoid fatigue accumulations. They want to be as fresh as possible for every sprint. This is the opposite of intervals where you want to build up lots of lactic acid and fatigue.
You know who makes many intervals? Endurance athletes! It's part of their weekly routine, and for many it's the primary training method.
Let me make that clear. I will use the body of a sprinter to prove the superiority of the intervals (even if they do not) to the stationary cardio, comparing them to endurance athletes who actually perform intervals. Is not that messed up?
But do not freak out …
I'm not saying that endurance training is not without its problems. Endurance training makes it harder to build muscle – first through a strong calorie deficit, then through the inhibition of mTOR and also through overproduction of cortisol. However, it is not endurance training to train for 30 minutes in inpatient cardio two to four times a week.
You can not look at an athlete who is doing stamina for hours at a fast pace and thinks that even remotely involves doing 30 minutes of slow heart several times a week. The two are not even in the same stadium.
Yes, excessive endurance training raises cortisol. However, if you compare the cardio in gyms with intervals, the cortisol intervals will increase even more – the release of cortisol is relative to the amount of mobilized fuel and the release of adrenaline. Both are higher with interval work.
I'm not saying that intervals are crap or that steady stamina is king. Both can be useful if used correctly and in the right dose. But the sprinter vs. Marathon Runner thing is just stupid and intellectually dishonest.
2. "Muscles are like the engine of your car – the bigger the engine, the more fuel you burn, so having more muscle will burn more calories."
This one is a little less dishonest. It's essentially true, but overrated. In reality, gaining a pound of muscle increases daily energy expenditure by 15 to 25 calories, which is not that much. This corresponds to about one third of an apple.
If you gain 10 pounds of muscle, it can lead to higher calorie consumption of about 200 calories per day. But it's still not nearly close to what people would believe.
And to be honest, most people do not add 10 pounds of muscle in a year of exercise once they've completed the beginner phase. (You can gain 10 pounds of body weight but not muscle.) An average man has the potential to add 30-40 pounds of muscle over his normal weight of an adult over the course of his training career.
The point is that adding muscle-will increase energy consumption is not as much as what people think, and does not justify eating like an ogre, "because I have the muscles to feed them burn."
However, adding more muscle will make it easier to get leaner and harder to gain fat. But burning extra calories is not the only (or even most important) reason.
This is also due to an increased storage space. If you gain one pound of muscle, you can store an extra 15-20 grams of glycogen in your muscles. So building 5 kilos of muscle will save you 75-100 grams of glycogen. This means you can eat more carbohydrates before you save them as fat – the body replenishes your glycogen stores before you turn carbs into fat.
So, strictly speaking, from a mechanical point of view, bigger muscles = more space for glycogen, which means that I can have more carbohydrates daily without storing them as fat.
If you're able to consume more carbohydrates daily, you can keep your metabolic rate elevated because conversion of T4 to T3 is dependent on carbohydrate intake and cortisol levels. Higher carbohydrates usually mean less cortisol, because the function of cortisol is to mobilize glycogen to increase blood sugar levels. If you consume carbohydrates, this is less necessary.
This allows you to eat more carbohydrates with more muscle, which helps keep your metabolic rate from humming and making you anabolic to higher insulin levels and IGF-1.
More muscles also make the muscles more sensitive to insulin. This is good for two reasons:
- If you are sensitive to insulin, it means that you will need to produce less insulin to get the job done. If insulin is less elevated, it means that it falls down quickly. As long as insulin is significantly elevated, fat mobilization is less efficient. The faster your insulin drops, the more time you spend mobilizing fat as fuel.
- When your muscles are more sensitive to insulin, you can store nutrients better in muscle than in body fat. Incidentally, Indigo-3G® is so effective by the way: It specifically increases the insulin sensitivity of the musculature.
The analogy of car engines is not terrible, but there is something more than most people know. And you do not actually burn so much fuel when you're building muscle. At least not compared to the calories you stuffed in your throat last weekend.
3. "Eat like a caveman, be sturdy, strong and kill saber-toothed tigers with your bare hands!"
It's a strong image, probably the best marketing hook we've ever seen in our field. And frankly, Paleo is a pretty solid way to eat. You only eat unprocessed foods, but you also have a lot of variety and do not cut out any macronutrients like keto or fat-free plans.
The thing is, she does not really eat like a caveman. Do you eat organ meat, brain and suck bone marrow? Do you eat a lot of your food uncooked? Do you eat all your food without spices? Do you eat insects?
Do you usually only eat a meal in the evening and may you nibble on nuts or green vegetables during the day? Do you sometimes drive for a few days and only eat vegetables or roots and sometimes you almost fast?
Do you only drink water? Do you only eat foods without pesticides, hormones or other artificial substances? Are you eating with your hands?
No? Then you do not eat like a caveman. Nowadays, there are paleo biscuits, paleo cakes and paleo salad dressings. I'm pretty sure cavemen did not bake cookies, not even Paleo biscuits.
The truth is that selling a diet as a "natural diet" simply does not have the same reputation as "the Caveman / Paleo diet." And chances are good that it would not have come anywhere near.
When it comes to dieting, the more emotional buy-in you have, the easier it is to follow it. You can also share your Paleo Facebook group (cavemen did not) to share stories, experiences, and recipes. It strengthens your faith and your determination. It's like a cult in many ways.
That does not mean it's not good, but you have to understand that the way you eat when you eat "paleo" has very little to do with how cavemen really ate. And even among the cavemen, there were many different diets, depending on where they lived. The only constant that cavemen had was that they ate what they could find.
This is the case when one lies, to make people do the right thing. In this case "doing the right thing" means a more natural diet and a move away from chemically loaded foods. This should be a powerful concept in itself, but not for the normal human brain.
If you think you're eating like a caveman, your determination to stick to a good healthy diet will make you happy. But do not preach how "exactly" this is, how cavemen ate and they were healthier and stronger than us (there's no data on that anyway). It has always been a strict marketing trick.
Never lose your objectivity
These are just three of the most popular images or analogies that are used in our field. Sometimes they are downright wrong. other times they simplify a concept. In some cases it is a lie that makes us do the right thing or take a step in the right direction.
But keep in mind that clever phrases and analogies exist for only one reason: to get them to buy a concept. Never lose your objectivity and desire to explore things further, just because a picture is powerful and makes sense.
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