20 thoughts on body recomposition
If you do a google search on this blog for the most used words you’ll find that its either “I haven’t posted in a while”, or “It feels like I haven’t posted in forever”. Or some variation of that sentence. (Trust me, I did the search)
So ill keep that tradition going and say its been a really effing long time that I’ve posted anything. My bad. This is my attempt to start and make it up to you.
Rather than just choose one thing to write about I decided to keep things in my true fashion and just random the shit out of this. As random as this list is, it all pertains to body recomposition. Which lets be honest, is the goal for most people anyways. Wether they know it or not.
So here goes……
1. Its been shown that for optimal fat loss, daily sugar intake should be 20 grams or less. To put that in perspective 3 oreos is roughly 60 grams. And a serving of soda is about 60 grams. Think about that.
2. Everything works. But not forever. One of the most amazing things about the human body is its ability to adapt. This goes with everything. Move to a new city, you adapt to it. Take a drug or evens something as simple as caffiene and the body adapts to it by building tolerance. Adopt a certain method of training and the body will adapt to it. This is ok. Its what the body does and its a part of what we want it to do when it comes to training. Give it a program to overcome and adapt to by either getting stronger, building muscle, or getting leaner. But after a while once its adapted then continuing the exact same thing over and over will do no good. Maybe other than making you more efficient in those movement patterns and skill work. But fat loss, strength building, and muscle building nah.
3. In the same topic of number three. Vary reps up from time to time. Brad Schoenfeld has talked about and posted some good research on muscle building. The findings about rep schemes was really great but what was interesting was that varying rep schemes created the most growth. Changing your rep scheme every so often shakes things up mentally and can be refreshing at times. But what happens on the inside is where the magic happens. I can spend an entire post on this topic but for the sake of time and my fingers ill just leave it at that. If your normal is 10 reps then shake it up and bust up some 15-20 rep sets. Or go a bit heavier and bust out 5-6 quality reps. P.S. High rep front squats (20 reps and above) are still some of my favorite plateu busters and lung killers.
4. Time under tension. Your body doesnt understand or know what weight is on the bar. It doesn’t step up to the bar and go oh shit thats 300lbs. No, your body understands tension. It steps up to the bar, grabs the weight, and when it applies force it feels the tension and goes, oh shit thats 300lbs. Understanding this can change the way you approach training and also how long youll last in the fitness game.
5. Going with number four. A 50lb Dumbell curl sounds cool but it doesnt mean anything if you have to exorcism your way to curl it rather then choosing a lighter “wussier” weight and letting tension do its thing. 20lb dumbell curls with a 4 sec negative will do more than a reverse power clean (aka heavy ass curl).
6. One more for number 4. For the aging lifter (mainly fellas as women have no problem leaving their ego out of the gym), finding ways to manipulate tension and use different intensity techniques will keep you progressing and keep your joints healthy will be way more beneficial than just adding more plates to the damn bar.
7. Dammit, last one for number 4. Manipulating time under tension is a great way to bust through platues and jump start your lackluster results. Around 40 sec of work is what studies have shown to be optimal for change (mainly muscle growth). Most training programs adhere to this theory it just isnt obvious. At least for me it wasnt until I learned that. 10 reps with a 3-1-2 tempo equals about 40-50sec. To be honest I dont know where I was going with on explaining about the reps and work time, but im just gonna leave it here for educational purposes. If you dont know now you know. What I was getting at was after you understand time under tension you can find ways to manipulate it and extend that time under tension. Ill give you a few of my favorite ways in the next numbers so this one wont be so big.
8. Drop sets. If you’re doing say the typical 3 sets of 10 reps of whatever exercise with lets say a 50lb weight. Then after the 10 rep cut the weight by 20-50% and continue for either another 10 reps or till smart failure (leaving 1-2 reps in the tank. Im not a huge fun of complete failure). If youre more advanced and bold there can be as many drops as you like. One of my all time favorite exercises for that advanced way was explained to me by a mentor of mine and I naivingly placed it on the easy on paper category. It wasnt. I was humbled. I dont wanna talk about it. But youre more than welcime to try it. The exercise: Bulgarian lunge. One to two gut busting sets is all it takes. Choose a heavy weight you can only get about 10 reps with and do 8 reps. Then immediately cut it by 20% and do another 8. Then repeat until youre at your own bodyweight (no weights) and rep it out till smart failure. An example would be: All slow and controlled. 40lbs for 8 reps. Cringe a little. Then drop it to 25lbs and do another 8. Breathe really heavy but still optimistically think I got this. Drop it to 15lbs and do another 8 reps. Panic, think you’re gonna die yet feel relief that the next drop is bodyweight. Drop the weight to just you and your awesome self and do another super slow and controlled 8 reps. Realize you were horribly wrong and topple over and hold onto what used to be your fully functional leg. Then repeat on the other leg.
9. Timed sets. The goal of timed sets is getting in quality reps without really worrying about the amount of reps. You can choose whatever time you feel nescessary but the most I would go with is 5 min personally. Which is usually my first choice anyways. Remember slow and controlled quality reps preferably at the end of your workout for that bodypart.
10. Rest pause sets. I guess technically this isnt fully extending the time under tension as youll have some slight rest time. But still effective none the less. Rest pause sets can be done many ways but I usually just stick to two. Version one is doing one rest pause set as the last set for a particular exercerise. For example squats for 4 sets of 8 reps. On the 4th set after the 8th rep rack it and rest for 10-15 sec and then repeat till youre 1-2 shy of failure. Then repeat until you cant or after you cant get the original rep amount in. Version two is choosing an exercise and using a certain weight and making it one big rest pause set. For example, push press at 80% of your 1RM for 5 reps. Do 5 reps. Rack it up and rest 10-15 sec and do another 5 and repeat until you cant anymore. If you can do more than 5 clusters of that rest pause than it was probably too light. Lesson learned.
11. Ive said it before but its worth re mentioning. When it comes to metabolic and conditioning work. The shittier you are at it the better it usually is for you. Remember the whole adapting thing above. Well once youve adapted you dont get the same metabolic response as before. So you can become a pro at doing burpees and after a while those burpees wont be as metabolic and challenging as before. So embrace the suck. On the bright side, understanding this allows you to see the bigger picture and answer the biggest why. Which is usually why the fuck am I doing this? You know why know, embrace it and keep going.
12. Slow down. When things stall or you end up in the dreaded plateu just take a deep breath and analyze everything. Our first instinct is to panic and either over cardio or under eat. And at that point thats usually the worst thing to do. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Are you really adhering as much to the plan as you say you are or have been? I mean think about it. If studies show that we think we are more good looking or smarter than we actually are, what else are we over estimating? Did life stressors like work kick up a notch? Are you recovering enough? Sleeping enough? Hydrated enough? Think about it and go from there.
13. Speaking of hydrated enough. I cant stress this part enough, drinking “alot of water” doesnt nescessarily mean youre hydrated. Making sure youre taking in enough electrolytes is big. Even more so if you are active, workout, and have allergies. And even more so if you live on the devils blister aka south texas. De hydration is one of the root causes for poor performance. Feeling shitty. Cramping. Inability to “feel” muscles working. And a host of other things. Moral of the story. Stay ridiculously hydrated.
14. Gut health. Its overlooked and super important. From digestion to immune system and neurochemical development this little sack in your midsection along with its snake like friend do alot more than just hold food. A hippie cleanse or detox is not what im talking about. Things like probiotics, digestive enzymes, and fermented foods would be a good idea to add in.
15. Believe in the plan or the plan laid out for you. If you dont you cut down its efficiency by 50% (I made that stat up) but its the truth. If you dont truly believe in the plan then you have one foot on land and one foot on water expecting to go to another island.
16. Cardio isnt as evil as its made out to be. It still sucks huge ones. But its not so bad. Even though the instafamous peeps boast about getting lean without cardio its still a good idea. Circulatory system health, hearth health, mental health, you name it. It has a ton of benefits that surpass just fat loss. Keep the long game in mind. Being lean today is cool and all but whats not cool is 20 years down the road with an assortment of health issues all because the cool thing to do was neglect cardio
17. Sleep. That word coming from me shouldnt make sense. Seeing how I sleep 3-4 hrs a night. I dont say that to boast or brag. Its not a badge of honor. But what I am proud of is my sleep quality. 7-8 hours of sleep is optimal but if you cant get that (lets face it its pretty hard now a days to do so and still have a “life”) then make sure the sleep you get is quality sleep. Deep R.E.M sleep is what we’re aiming for and the more you have of it the more 3-4 hours will feel like 8. Magnesium, Huperzine A, and Melatonin are the first supplements that come to mind that improve your sleep quality.
18. Figure out your “eating schedule” and build from there. Eating 6 times a day when you’ve been eating only 3 times isnt ideal nor nescessary. By now you probably already have an eating routine thats been the same for a good while. Figure it out and then tweak it from there. If you eat the normal breakfast lunch and dinner then focus on the quality and food choices first. Then add a protein shake in between one of those and ta da now youve snuck in extra protein you wouldnt normally have. Here’s an example.
Current way of eating:
Breakfast- Starbucks breakfast sandwich and coffee
Dinner- Cheeseburger and fries
(Not horrible, but not optimal)
New tweaked way of eating:
Breakfast: 3 egg whites, 1 whole egg, cup of veggies. All in an omelet.
Lunch: Chipotle salad with double meat (if you have to eat out for lunch)
Dinner: Chicken, jasmine rice, veggies Snack: 1 scoop protein, 1 cup almond milk, handful of walnuts, cup of raspberries, cup of spinach all blended together to make a super shake.
There’s not much of a difference in the frequency of eating. The real difference is the food choices and quality. This isnt some special diet. This is just sensible eating that is a lifestyle change rather than a “diet”. A person looking to shed a few lb’s will get more results in the long run with this type of change rather than a special strict diet that ends in 8 weeks and does nothing to create healthy habits.
19. Environmental exposure. I first heard this term from a few mentors of mine and its stayed in my head since. I have no idea what the technical definition is. But what ive come to know it as being exposed to an environment and soaking it all in. For example, there’s been a few seminars ive gone to that were a bit lackluster. Even though the seminar itself was lackluster, those were some of my favorite seminars ive gone to. The people I met at those seminars are still friends and ive watched them grow over the years. There’s just something about being around like minded people. Being around like minded people is crazy underrated. This applies to everything. In the gym setting we tend to call it vibes. But finding the right place with the right vibes could be the deciding factor on the results you get. Just enough to tip the scale (not the weight scale) towards progress. Sometimes the missing factor is environmental exposure.
20. Prowler is still one of my favorite conditioning, strength, and power development tools. Use it if you have access to one.
P.S. My current fancy for the prowler is loading it up with a decently heavy weight and using a hip circle band around the top of the knees. Hold the prowler low and keep your butt up higher so that every step feels like a 1 leg RDL. With every step the leg drives back and with the added band adds some extra glute activation. Fun stuff.
Do what you will with this frankenstein creation of a list.
I told you it was random.
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