Saturday, March 5, 2011

Adjusting Your Training After the Honeymoon

I call the initial 6-12 months of strength training the Honeymoon for new clients. During the first 6-12 months, clients can simultaneously improve their technique, get stronger, build muscle, increase conditioning, and lose body fat. All without even much change in their diet. Life is good. But, then their bodies' adaptations diminish. If they keep up their beginner training program beyond the Honeymoon, they notice little improvement in strength, conditioning, or body composition.

Most often, few people train consistently for more than six months. Though, if you do, then you need to focus on one goal and design your training/diet/recovery program to accomplish that one goal. You can maintain mutiples fitness components, but you must decide which ONE component you want to improve. Do you want continued body fat lose? Greater strength? Your training/nutrition/recovery will need to be modified accordingly. If you want to lose more body fat, your nutrition will have to improve, but you will still strength train. The main diiference will be your mediocre strength gains (mainly due to less available energy to bulid muscle). If your goal is to get stronger, you may have to decrease the amount of endurance exercise you are doing. If you do cut back (even by 50%, but maintain intensity), you can still maintain your endurance, but have more energy/recovery to build strength.

Personally, I have been focusing on building strength over the last six months. I have not focused on fat loss, in fact, eat probably 30% more calories now to help provide adequate energy for building muscle. Additionally, I have limited my conditioning exercise, and replaced a couple conditioning workouts each week with naps to help with muscle recovery. The result? I am the strongest I have ever been in my entire life.

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