is not a personal trainer among us who hasn't heard this...
"But I don't want big muscles...". This is generally
the beginner's argument against performing resistance exercises.
Ordinarily the demographics of these clients, or potential
clients, are ill-informed women of all ages, as well as unconditioned
(and sometimes not so honest) men, age 25 and older. The question
is, what do you say in response? If you are providing personal
trainer services to the general public, not specializing in
particular segments of the population (i.e. youth, athletes,
etc.), the above demographics just happen to represent the
bulk of your marketplace. This being the case you, as a knowledgeable
personal fitness trainer, knowing the regular performance
of resistance exercise is what they need, must know how to
convince them of its true value. In part, this 'convincing'
needs to include an element of education and assurance that
while you will likely be prescribing resistance exercise,
that not all resistance exercise results in size and strength
increase. Unfortunately, most uninformed individuals directly
associate the performance of resistance exercise with size
and strength increase, making your attempt at justification
an uphill battle. This brief article provides you with ammunition
to fight and win this battle, and at the same time to earn
greater trust and respect from these individuals.
and the ability to successfully convey this knowledge, is
exactly the sort of attribute that will elevate you to the
level of a true fitness professional in the eyes of your clients.
Educating is the true key to a client's life-long understanding
of his/her own personal health and fitness needs, and as we
all know, resistance exercise is an integral part of any productive
fitness program. In continuing, we will discuss various applications
of resistance training that bring about benefits other than
size and strength increase.
& Resistance Exercise...
of all, it is the steady degeneration (atrophy) of muscles
common in aging that result in the slowed metabolism and gradual
fat accumulation that is scientifically and medically acceptable.
This 'acceptance' is clearly reflected in various published
charts and tables that offer greater latitude concerning 'normal'
body composition ratings to those of advanced years. As fitness
administrators, we should take opposition to this 'acceptable'
aging occurrence as it can be prevented through sensible eating
and the performance of moderate resistance exercise. Sustaining
muscle tissue volume will allow for the maintenance of a relatively
steady metabolic rate during aging and consequently "0"
related fat accumulation. As we age, in the absence of resistance
exercise, the muscles slowly forget how to take up insulin-carried
glucose and amino acids from the bloodstream via insulin receptor
sites. As the performance of strenuous activity becomes less
and less popular with aging, muscles slowly adapt by reducing
in volume (muscle atrophy). Also, due to receptor site shut
down, malnourishment (insufficient provision of oxygen &
nutrients) occurs, resulting in slowed metabolism. During
the subtle progression of tissue atrophy and slowed metabolism,
it is the continued eating habits that result in relative
fat accumulation. What can be done to avoid these problems?
The prescription of a light to moderate frequency (2-4 sessions
per week, dependent upon exercise intensity), circuit routine
consisting of the three basic compound movements, i.e. bench
press, leg press, deadlights, at 70-80% intensity in the 20-25
rep range (refer to the NFPT Rep Range Chart), accompanied
by a reasonable diet program consisting of @ 60% carbohydrate,
30% protein, 10% fat should be sufficient to both maintain
healthy receptor site function and tissue volume. Hormonal
changes that take place with aging can also be positively
affected by the performance of regular resistance exercise
(the greater the intensity of resistance exercise, the greater
Loss & Resistance Exercise...
application of resistance exercise is one that will take some
convincing when dealing with the ill-informed client. Not
only in its initiation, but also for several weeks thereafter.
The reason for this, is that fat loss progress through the
exclusive application of resistance exercise, while arguably
among the healthiest of approaches, will not produce results
as readily visible to the client as those results experienced
using other more conventional methods, i.e. extreme dieting
and aerobic activity performance. Unfortunately, since instant
gratification is among our society's most popular character
flaws and one that is likely shared by most of your clients',
your initial fat loss prescription will need to include the
performance of aerobics and dieting, as these methods foster
quicker and more visible results. Let's discuss now the reasoning
for, and the explanation of, the role resistance exercise
plays in fat loss. An explanation that will be convincing
enough to win the confidence necessary for your fat loss client's
adherence to your resistance training recommendations. Emphasizing
early on to the client that losing body fat and not bodyweight
is of the utmost importance.
Exercise & Increased Metabolism Energy Replacement
light weight, high rep resistance exercise increases fat release
and use by the muscles between workouts for the intercellular
ATP "fuel" necessary to replace the muscle glycogen
stores that were exhausted during the performance of the exercise.
This required energy recovery function results in greater
cellular activity, which in turn equates to a faster metabolism.The
reason this concept of fat loss is so hard to "sell"
to a client up front is not because it does not make sense,
because it does make sense. Where the true difficulty lies
is in the absence of instant gratification. The clients' bathroom
scales, for example, will in most cases reflect an increase
in total bodyweight, sometimes for several weeks before weight
loss begins to occur even while on the strictest of diets.
The reason for this seeming phenomenon is that as muscles
are taking up recovery energy, a great deal of water moves
into the cell. This water contributes significantly, and misleadingly,
to lean weight. The most objective way to combat this problem
and to maintain client confidence and compliance to recommendations,
is through regularly performed skin fold (bodyfat) testing.
In the absence of prior conditioning, metabolic peculiarities,
aerobic and/or low level activity performance, and starvation
dieting, the trainer should be able to safely and accurately
make the following initial predictions (short-term) when exclusively
applying the above guidelines in the initial overall fat loss
resistance exercise prescription. #1-body weight increase;
#2-lean weight increase; #3-fat weight decrease; #4-fat percentage
decrease. However, when adopting a multi-phase fitness prescription,
it is difficult if not impossible to make any overall predictions.
Why? There are simply too many variables involved and client
metabolisms are generally different. In other words, it would
be impossible to separate and measure the effectiveness of
the starvation diet, as compared to the performance of low-level
activity. Or to compare the value of the resistance phase
to the aerobic phase when both are implemented together and
intended for the same purpose. Make no mistake, the immediate
overall resulting fluctuation of lean and fat weight will
be much more significant when opting to prescribe a more "holistic"
fat loss regimen of dieting along with aerobic and resistance
exercise performance. Fat loss should never be approached
with an "at-any-cost" attitude, i.e. prescribing
extreme aerobic activity performance, starvation dieting (caloric
intake below BMR needs), etc. In the interest of long-term
general health and weight management, lean tissue maintenance
and/or increase is as important as the fat loss itself. With
this said, and as difficult to accept as this may seem, it
is the resistance phase of any fat loss fitness prescription
that most effectively addresses the underlying goal of all
fitness prescriptions. That goal being long-term general health
and weight management.
lean muscle size through infrequent heavy, low rep resistance
exercise results in a greater caloric demand. This condition
equates to a faster metabolism, and a greater "around-the-clock"
fat release in order to maintain the newly acquired mass of
NFPT Personal Trainer Magazine...Big Muscles?