Friday, August 19, 2011

Positive failure

The idea of working a set of repetitions to the point of muscle failure has been around for decades. The claim is that this practice maximizes the rate of muscle growth. The claim is that a lack of sufficient intensity of effort will only tire you and trigger no development.

It should be said that working to failure is anything but easy. For example, I have found that I didn't actually know what it really meant until quite recently. The reason is that, as an unassisted beginner, I first had to overcome deficits in my ability to deliver intensity of effort (form, unknown personal limits, etc). This was in no way apparent to me early on and meant that, although I was working to the point of failure, I was not able to give everything I had even if I wanted to. I had to learn to do so. This is OK but something to expect and look for. Why?

Because gradually I got to the point when I could put more into an exercise but didn't. I had fallen prey to another difficulty of working to failure, the rut. Pushing oneself to the limit every single time is, as someone put it, masochistic and counterintuitive. Here is an example:

Imagine you take a math test and you fail it. The score tells you know some math but not enough. That's OK. You study more and retake the test. The thing is that the test has become harder and you fail it again. The score tells that you know more math than before but still not enough. Imagine this situation going on indefinitely. You will become very, very good at math but you will fail the tests nonetheless.

Working to muscle failure means that, no matter how strong you get, you will never pass the test that you put your body through. In fact, that is precisely the objective. You don't want your metabolism to ever consider that it can handle the "situation" it is faced with. Rather, you want your metabolism to always "think" it needs to grow more muscle in order to match environmental demands.

You fall into a rut when you fail to challenge yourself sufficiently, when the test you put your body through is not demanding enough.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Template menu 0.3

The diet I am following is working well. I don't feel hungry or lack energy.

There have only been small changes, as I expected. I have been keen for a while on replacing the 3 satsuma age with real fish. I have finally been able to do it. I have also eliminated the bacon since I eat meat every day.

  • 1 egg omelet.
  • ~200 grams fish (pan-fried butter).

  • ~200 grams of beef or pork.
  • Salad: Lettuce, 1 medium tomato, 1 cucumber, 1 medium onion (sautéed with a tablespoon of butter), and 3 tablespoons of homemade mayonnaise as dressing.

  • 2 boiled eggs with 3 teaspoons of homemade mayonnaise.
  • ~200 grams of plain yogurt with a spoon of cocoa powder.

The weight loss continues. It is a gradual process and I have ceased to be concerned about it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

VII H.I.T. report

I did my last workout at home yesterday. From next week on, I will be going to a gym. I expect this will allow me to push harder and get greater benefits out of each session. If this is not the case, I will go back to working out at home.

As I was looking at my H.I.T. sheet, I counted 10 workouts in 11 weeks (I traded one WoW for an enduro day). I would be lying if I said that I am not astonished by the progression. I am fitter than I have ever been. It's almost absurd. Ten workouts amount to about 3 hours of exercise for me. Before I started this protocol, I would invest that much time in less than a week and all I accomplished was to wear myself down. Ridiculous.

My performance on yesterday's session was below my expectations. Fortunately, I know the cause of the problem. I did not rest properly. I have been too enthusiastic about sprinting, walks, and strong kicks. I did not give my body enough time to recover. The end result is that I failed to inroad. It is true that I didn't regress, though. My strength is still there. But I was not able to improve on my previous TUL's.

Next time, I will.