The act of training can be one of the most challenging endeavours in life. Whether it's weights, sports specific, or anything in between, you get out what you put in. The hardcore lifters say, “go as hard as possible. Every rep should be difficult, and the last rep should barely make it.” The functional guys mention, “Leaves a few reps in the tank. Every rep should be smooth, and you should never wear yourself out.” While the endurance guys are screaming, “KEEP MOVING! YOU HAVE TO GROW A TANK BEFORE YOUR CAN BURN IT OUT.” So, who should you believe?
The first step in any journey is setting the end goals. This is no different. If your goal is to gain muscle mass, the lifters are on par with their beliefs. Their mentality is to break down the muscle fibers, spike a hormonal response and eat until their body has no choice than to stack on the mass. If your goal is to be more functional for sports specific training or just to build a more resilient body, then the “leave a few in the tank” method will be your friend. This will enable you to train everyday and still have some steam left to focus on skill building for your sport. Endurance requires a little bit of everything. Most of the endurance training is bodyweight to light weight moved for thousands of reps such as jogging, hiking, swimming, and biking. These athletes would benefit from resistance training, but most are afraid of getting too bulky to lift heavy weights. They still perform gruelling training sessions, but it’s mainly on the body itself.
The difference between the them is recovery. Most of your training should be focused on your true reason for training. If you want to get big, then the weights are going to take you where you want to go. Train hard, recover, train hard again. If your goal is increasing performance for a sport, then most of your training will be skill building within the movements of the sport. If you kill every workout, then you will sacrifice the following skill building session due to lack of recovery. Team triathlon’s training is usually repetitive to the point of CNS bliss. The brain can go on cruise control, hence why your brain wonders off during a long run, and the recovery is solely on the muscles and joints.
What about those looking for fat loss? For these clients, I lean more towards the endurance athletes. The “keep moving” mentality will be vital for their goals. Whether we are talking about a long slow distance training session or a conditioning session, we want to take little breaks and continue the movement as much as possible. We also want to train as often as possible to force the body to adapt. We want an intensity that pushes the client, but also leaves them able to train the following day without issue. (For more on this subject check out Tiny T.i.M.: The Only Training Principle You Need to Lose Fat ) If we have a high intensity day, then we suggest they stick to walking or light jogging the next day. Either way, we want them moving and working every day. Like every training program, consistency is key; consistency is the only way to succeed.
ACSM Certified Fitness Professional