Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Myth: Women Who Strength Train Will Get Big

Question: I am a 17 year old gymnast who is beginning to look at the possibility of NCAA offers and progressing my training far beyond what I have done up until this point. I have been following a lot of bodyweight routines and feel as if strength training would help me but I am afraid of the bulky look. Do you have any tips of how to not gain that size? 

Anna-Texas USA. 

TWM Response:

It is great to see that you are trying to take your training seriously and it is a very common question that I get asked by many females. I would like to address a few things on this subject so I hope this helps out.

Myths behind women who strength train

More commonly for women, the amount of weight you choose does not correlate to muscle bulk and will not effect you the same way it does for men. Repetitions are the cause of this and transfer to the training effect you will see. Lifting heavy has many transferable athletic attributes and also improves stress management, quality of life and overall athleticism.

Hypertrophy (training to build muscle at a high rep range to promote growth) in women is dependant on a few things:

1.Heredity (the percentage of fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibres that you are genetically predisposed to and have developed throughout training). The more fast twitch muscle fibres you are predisposed to the greater the likelihood of hypertrophic potential. This is generally and easily noticeable in world class sprinters who have the right build to preform at such a high level-we will address this below.

2.Body Type- Their are three types of body types. Mesomorphic, Endomorphic and Ectomorphic.
Mesomorphs have a greater potential to build muscle due to genetic makeup of the frame and muscle fibre type. See image below to refer to your body type.

3. Type of Diet- During hypertrophy training (for males AND females) a high protein intake in necessary for muscle growth. The average athlete does not take in quality protein in solid form and therefore over trains the body and does not supply it with a good enough fuel source to see any benefits yet alone achieve an anabolic state of growth. 

4. Level of Adrenal Secretion (Testosterone)- This one is simple. Women who naturally produce more testosterone will be able to build muscle at a greater rate than those who do not. This is very genetically based and therefore does not effect most females the way it does for some elite athletes who have been "gifted" with this ability to produce the hormone necessary for adequate muscular growth. 

5. Birth Control Use- Birth control increases natural testosterone. Studies have shown this MAY provide a training/recovery advantage due to the increase in T-Levels being secreted. 

Repetitions, intensity, time and rest between sets and the energy system targeted for your specific sport are generally the indicators of whether you will be training in a hypertrophic state. 

So to get away from the scientific basis-women who train will not only see athletic benefits-but do not need to worry about gaining "bulk" or being too muscular. Train to be an athlete, train smart and see the health benefits that come along with it. 

Whether you are an athlete or just want to be in shape-strength training for females has countless benefits and is generally misinterpreted by most. Eat properly, train properly and let the work get you that scholarship Anna. If you/anyone else needs more information just send another email and I will send a couple research papers and sources that will thoroughly prove what I stated. 


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Just something to think about

For all those who say they don't have time some days or are too tired or have too much to do. Read this. Pretty inspirational from one of the best in the Business. 

"One thing that no one talks about is how walking into a weight room tired, over-worked, stressed, and f***ed up but then succeeding is a true lesson in mind strength. I don’t always recommend it, but at certain times of your life you’ve got to quit being such a slave to your pussiness and step up and see how well you can do under shitty conditions.

People have always been working labor jobs for long hours. There are single mom’s working two jobs and still finding time for their kids. There are soldiers that fought for our country that were hungry, tired, thirsty, and with pieces of steel stuck in their bodies, but somehow they were able to pull it together in combat. Why can’t you get your shit together for an hour and do a couple sets of squats?" -Jim Wendler

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Toughness Vs. Technology

Toughness vs. Technology 

Complex does not mean great. 

Sophisticated doesn't mean challenging. 

Revolutionary does not always equate to success. 

     Most of these statements contradict themselves in everyday life, yet in my life and the life of many strength and conditioning coaches around the world simple is better. Athletes strive to become the best and are subject to new training techniques, fads and myths, and more technology in some training centres than electronics store. The idea behind these new training methods is that the athlete will somehow become better through a system of pulleys, buttons, compression systems and computers and monitors. The sad truth behind this is; not only is the athlete wasting time and money, "dynamic and cutting edge"is misleading and a sad misfortune.

    The "favour" is that the workload is lessoned, the training methods are subpar and you'll leave the gym in a light sweat, short of breath and somewhat less of a man than before you entered. I know the cliche is inevitable but it must be said. "Why fix something that isn't broken?"
Perfect example is the video above, and we all know how that one turned out.

"He's not human-he's like a piece of iron"-Ivan Drago

There are a few simple things that every great athlete does to train:
-Lift Heavy

    One of the biggest preachers of this type of training is Zach Even-Esh. The man is a genius. Joe DeFranco is another one of the greats in the industry who NEEDS to be mentioned in this article. What do both these men have in common? They produce freak athletes and have a no bullshit approach to training. Their athletes lift and pull heavy things (bars, tires, sleds, atlas stones, sandbags, yokes, etc), preform freakish bodyweight exercises, run fast & jump. They don't need calibrated machines, compression devices, treadmills, and all the other marketable necessities sought after by some athletes & training facilities.

  Focus on being able to control your body through all ranges of motion and being able to be functional as an athlete. Pack on muscle and strength through lifting properly and become fast, agile and explosive through running and jumping. Save money, save time and save a headache and train PROPERLY. Old school training never got old. Time to man up and take responsibility and realize their are millions of athletes in the world and the ones that make it to the top are the ones who bang out that extra rep, don't skip over the mobility and rehab sessions, put blood sweat and tears into their workouts and would actually embarrass any gym rat/wannabe bodybuilder when it comes down to pure strength, power and speed. This simple, barebones training turns you into a man and into an athletic freak.

One of the easiest ways to look at it is this...
When in sport are you ever strapped down, sitting down, slowly moving, and able to control the pace of the opposing athlete in sport? NEVER. So don't train sitting down, do not train attached to machines and do something applicable to your sport. The bar isn't going to get up unless you pull it up, the dumbbells do not have a lever that you can just push out to save yourself from getting through that last tough rep and you control the speed and direction of the squat and whether or not it gets up. Speed, plyometrics, agility as well as mobility are constantly evolving but for the better. You need to train smart and you need to training properly.

I am sick and tired of hearing about all these revolutionary programs that will pack on 30lbs of muscle in only two months and that because its working for one athlete it is going to work for everyone. Heres an idea, stop subscribing to mens health and get into a gym where the athletes, PERFORMANCE coaches and atmosphere will challenge you.

"Pick up heavy shit, put it over your head. And do it often, and you will get stronger"-Rob Orlando

Off-Season has officially begun!

 Train Hard.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Off-Season for TrainWithMe Athletes

It's that time of year again!

Most TrainWithMe athletes begin their off-season training in a week from now. All of our athletes are ready to get back in the gym and on the field after a well deserved deloading phase full of mobility work, stretching, rehab work, proper eating, ice baths, physiotherapy appointments and much needed rest.

This coming off-season is going to be extremely effective, sport specific and gruelling. The athletes will be met with a variety of challenges which will prove to be demanding-physically and mentally. The expectations are much higher this summer and I am positive that all the athletes will meet their goals and surpass my expectations.

The OVFL (Ontario Varsity Football League) crew will be starting their off-season training in a week. The  boys have gone through a few phases of in-season work to this point,  since most of their high school seasons were still underway. After picking up a couple high school championships in the Junior and Senior division and also racking in every MVP award to be had, the members of the University Prep group now join their OVFL counterparts and will undergo some serious off-season training to prove to the province and their coaches that they are ready. 

The CIS crew still remains spread out all over Canada and the United States. A huge shout out goes to Sean Smith & Kevin Aleinik of the McMaster University Football team, playing in the Uteck Bowl today. These two TrainWithMe athletes look to become National champions in their rookie year. Sean Rudy laces up the skates this weekend in a back to back series against Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota.

The CIS crew will reassemble in the early part of May to begin their off-season training. The atmosphere and hard work that these athletes bring to the program is by far one of the most inspiring things as a strength coach. These athletes ALL have huge goals this summer, and we plan to meet them head on. While the lifting and on-field programs will be essential to the CIS crew, they will also be implementing a lot of pre-hab and injury prevention techniques and focusing heavily on proper nutrition and mobility work-the things that make a complete athlete.

Finally, the University Prep crew will be assembling in early may as well. This group is comprised of elite high school athletes set on playing at the University level. These athletes will undergo a very dynamic and new type of training that most are not used to. The goal of this program is to provide these up and coming athletes with a training program and environment that mimics the one they will be part of in a couple months. These athletes will NOT be the rookies going into training camp that look awkward and misinformed in the gym and throughout workouts. Our University Prep group are some of our most talented and hard working athletes and will look to push the barriers and compete with our CIS group.

BIG things to come for all TrainWithMe athletes this off-season. Excited to give everyone a preview of the off-season training soon enough. Until then, our athletes will keep getting bigger, stronger, and faster than YOU.

Make sure to check in soon for a couple huge updates. Most notably:

-"Varsity Fit Program"- A year long program set out for University aged women to get fit in a dynamic and creative way. Time to forget the countless hours on machines and treadmills in the gym and get on a program that allows you to train like an athlete yet get all the effects of your yoga sessions, spin classes and body sculpting classes without waiting in the huge lines and paying ridiculous amounts of money.

-"8-12 Hour Workday Program" - A program set out for our working class clients. This program will focus on minimizing the notion that to be fit you must spend hours in the gym daily and all week long. The program will be focus on the important aspects of overall health and still challenge you to train like an athlete but perform as a businessman/businesswomen. Better health equates to better cognitive function, less stress, better overall performance and a better lifestyle.

Be sure to check out the website often!


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Protein Supplementation-Is it even necessary?

I have received plenty of emails and questions involving supplementation-but primarily whey protein. I will cover this ONCE. This is a highly debated topic and one that is in the midst of a lot of debate amongst researchers and athletes. 

If you interview most athletes and ask what their go to supplement is, protein is generally the number one answer-but is it really that necessary? These same individuals that swear by it and drink 2-3 shakes a day are also the same people that could not state one fact about what they're actually putting into their bodies on a regular basis. These are also the people who have been on "hardcore workout plans" for months and have not had any significant results in the gym and wonder if they are just on the wrong set of supplements this month-GET REAL!

The world of supplementation has it's ups and downs. Without getting too much into the marketing side of supplement companies, I will just touch base on the fact that most supplements and the industry in general is complete BS. Half of what you are putting into your body is an additive, a "filler" of sorts-and mostly simple sugars.  Whether it works for you on the other hand is a whole other story. On numerous occasions I hear athletes complain about bloating, heart rate increases, nausea, headaches, acne etc...
Yet they continue to take it because they are positive it is getting them bigger, or they cannot live without the "pump". The obscene amounts of money spent each month on these supplements could be put towards something as simple, effective and ESSENTIAL as food.

"I take 2-3 protein shakes a day"
"I'm just going have this protein shake and then hit up a workout"
"I'm going to drink a shake real quick, don't have time for a meal"

All of the statements listed above are things that can be overheard in locker rooms and varsity gyms daily. I am not here to deter anyone from taking a shake-but I am just going to throw out a few things you should all consider.

Protein requirements vary depending on several key elements:

-Carbohydrate Availability (Need more of it if Carb intake is low)

-Dietary Protein Quality (Focus on protein from primary sources such as meat and fish-plant dominant protein provides the body with a smaller source)

-Exercise Intensity & Exercise Duration

-Exercise Type (highly active individuals and high intensity endurance athletes need more protein generally)

-Training History (Inexperienced/new athletes-need more protein due to high tissue breakdown)



Quick Set of Pro's for Whey Protein Supplementation: 

-Easily portable & Non Perishable
-For SOME individuals, it is very hard to eat the amount of protein they need to consume in food.
-Highest source of BCAA's (branch chain amino acids)
-High % of Leucine and Glutamine.
-Rapid Absorption Rate
-Helps Insulin Activity

Long Set of Con's 

-Since whey protein is an animal based product, the conditions under which the animals were raised influences the product directly.  (Especially in the United States of America)

-Dehydration is more likely. Increased protein promotes more frequent urination. Due to the fact that protein is broken down into urea (toxic) and eliminated through urine.

-Real food provides the proper balance of all amino acids, costs less and gives greater nutrient value as well as tastes better.

-Excess amino acids may be stored as fat

-Protein supplements raise protein intake while decreasing dietary fat- minimizing calorie intake. Great? No. As fat is directly correlated with testosterone levels, a driving force in male athletic performance.

-And the list goes on and on.....

Most athletes are taking this as a way to get big-this is totally the wrong approach. As stated in the pro section of the article, some athletes need to take it this way because eating the amount of food necessary to help with muscle repair and providing the proper amount protein for muscular growth would be impossible. This is for athletes who train numerous times a week, at a high rate-and may also be playing and practicing at the same time.

Example:  (Referenced from Nutrition Professor at Queen's University)

Leucine (a main amino acid present in protein powders) is essential to create an anabolic, muscle building environment. To build and repair at a high rate, the amount of leucine must be between 8-16 grams daily. If you were trying to do this through eating, you would have to eat...

1.5 pounds of chicken
3 pounds of pork
16 eggs
1/2 pounds of raw cheese

Whereas 3 ounces of high-quality whey provides 8g or more of leucine.

The main point being: If you want to get big, EAT!

The debate is constantly moving from one side to the other. This is why it really comes down to personal preference. The main take home message is that as an athlete you need to eat a lot, and need to eat well. Especially in times where you are training at a high intensity numerous times a week. You can combine this with a shake. Also take into account that whey protein is a dairy based product. Most individuals are very sensitive to dairy products and thus the feeling of bloating and stomach pains. There are many different sources of protein-egg protein, almond milk, lactose free and so on. Be sure to stay away from isolates and be sure to look into what you are buying. I am in no way advising people to stay away from protein shakes, rather than advising people not to depend on them as your ONLY source of protein.

For repair, growth and performance look into buying some of these simple & cost effective alternatives:
EAA's (Essential Amino Acids)
Glutamine powder
Simple Sugars (Dextrose for example)
Drink lots of water
EAT protein rich food  (Chicken, Lean Steak, Beef, Fish, Nuts, etc...)

Remember that the people who you see and admire most didn't get big, strong, fast and successful because they crowded their lockers with supplement bins and visited the local supplement store every second week. They put in hard time in the gym and on the field, took proper care of their nutrition and worked their asses off. Stop worrying about the minor things.


Monday, 14 November 2011

The Beginning

Big News, Big Steps and Huge Announcements on the way!

1- is currently up and running. It is still heavily under construction but looking great.

2-This blog will be used for any short question & answer purposes. If you have any questions regarding training, programming, nutrition, supplements or comment on the post and I will do my best to respond as quickly as possible. This blog will also contain specific information for athletes, my training, diet, and any other trainwithme news.

3- For any questions or topics that I feel can be expanded upon-I will post those in the articles section on the website. This will provide an in depth look into the top and most controversial topics in the strength and conditioning business/athletics and training.

4-I would like to throw a big shout out to my Mom & Dad (My accountant and my Business Manager hah) Without these two the program and the company would of never taken off like they have. The website, the ideas, the support-thank you & love you both. And I would like to thank all my athletes and the parents who have built this thing from the ground up. All the boys at trainwithme turned heads this summer and this season, and there's no going back.