Q: How many days do u train a day?
I’ve been working out and eating clean but my progress is very slow.
I still consider myself I newbie when it comes to weight training, but I’ll try to answer this question as best I can from my own experience so far
I have been consistently training an hour minimum 6 out of 7 days a week since October 2012.
Prior to that, I only dabbled in weights and mainly stuck to the cardio section of the gym because I didn’t know any better and thought lifting would make me look like a croissant (see picture!)
Running won’t get you anywhere
When I approached Ben from Australian Strength Performance Training to get me competition ready by March 2013, I was extremely lean and had hardly any muscle mass. Ben’s approach for me was to build shape through a paced resistance training program and bring my cardio regime right down to a minimal.
I quickly learnt that running on a treadmill was in fact the wrong type of work out for what I wanted to achieve- by running at a intermediate speed and going for distance, I was actually telling my body to burn precious muscle as well as what little fat I had. I dropped weight during my cardio-obsession phase, however I lost a heap of muscle mass in the process and looked shapeless!
Ben from ASP Training wrote a program for me to sculpt specific areas and because I’d never had to engage my muscles before, I wouldn’t come in as hard and will have the softer definition for the sports model category (and it really showed- I was the “softest” girl on stage at the last competition).
Correctly fuel your body
Alongside the training in the gym, we also started experimenting with my diet and monitored my body mass index (BMI) through fortnightly bio-sig pinch tests. It was a complete overhaul on my lifestyle and I had to re-educate myself that not all calories are equal.
The hardest part was cutting out carbs from my diet and increasing my vegetable and protein intake. I can’t stress enough how important food is as a part of the entire transformation.
If you want true results, then you need to eat clean and stick to it, no cheating!
The weight training helped me gain additional muscle gradually, however I remember the baby fat shedding from around my lower abdominal (my fat storage area) during the last couple of weeks of prep before the first comp because of a few factors:
- Ben re-introduced cardio sessions (one high intensity and one endurance) to get my body burning that extra fat- my program had no cardio component until this point
- My diet dramatically reduced to lean protein (white fish, chicken breast) and restricted vegetables that were mainly low calorie greens
I having little to no carbs up to 2 months out from comp, then carbs were completely cut after that…
They were only re-introduced at strategic times to “pump up” my muscles for stage.
I also had to start taking “fat burners” such as Hydroxy Cut and L-carnitine but honestly I didn’t really think they did anything but give me that extra energy boost during my training sessions-
I just remembered being so exhausted and carb depleted at that stage that I couldn’t even squat the bar in the last few days prior to comp!
Eating clean is the hardest part, I’m not going to lie.
But you don’t have to go to the extremes I did pre-comp, because it’s simply not sustainable (ie. you’ll be a cranky bitch and drive all your friends crazy).
Some good ways to “eat clean” normally are:
- Cook it yourself! Avoid eating out as much as possible because you don’t know what other crap the chef is secretly shoving into your food
- If I had to choose low fat vs. low sugar/carbs I choose the latter automatically. I’m not saying it’s okay to consume copious amounts of animal fat, but there are “good” fats that actually help you lose weight and keep you full longer. Sugars and carbs create spikes in insulin and signal your body to store unused energy as fat.
- If you have to eat carbs, eat low GI types to avoid massive spikes in insulin. I’m talking brown rice, sweet potatoes- anything wholegrain, oats, and more.
- Protein is king. Incorporate protein to make up most of your diet because it keeps you full longer. Protein takes longer for your body to break down and is the essential for building muscle. Best source of protein are egg whites (I love the yolk and will have one or two a day anyway), chicken breast, fish (any type, but watch out for the sneaky mercury in swordfish and tuna), turkey, kangaroo- the list goes on.
- If you want to drink protein shakes, go for a high quality protein such as whey isolate and avoid soy isolates where you can. Yes, the jury is still out whether the estrogen levels in soy actually cause man boobs and cellulite storage in women, but until they get a really answer it’s probably best to avoid.
Lift weights to lose weight
To answer your question, your slow progression will depend on what you are doing when you are working out and what you are eating when you say “clean”, it’s extremely hard to gage where you can improve.
If you are trying to sculpt or grow some muscles for shape, then get some weights and start lifting light to get your technique before going heavier.
By doing weights, or anaerobic exercises, your body not only burns calories during the session but also long after you are out of the gym. It’s a pretty cool reason to do weights and it means you can actually lose weight without running a single mile!
My program is divided to hit different body areas to allow time to recover in between work out days. An example of this is leg exercises on Monday, shoulders and back on Tuesday, arms and upper body on Wednesday, back to legs on Thursday.
To build muscle, you need to go heavier and slowly execute the 8-10 reps, feeling the “burn”. If you can, go to failure on your last set (I often do this with a lighter weight). Lighter weights with more reps will maintain and tone muscle more than build.
I hope this helps- I know what I’m talking about is relatively high level, but I will be posting more info on some specific exercises in the near future to give you an idea of what sort of things I do in my program.
Until next time, eat clean train mean!
- Do you lift? (repsuk.wordpress.com)
- Weight training (foodfitness19.wordpress.com)
- Women and Weights (fitnessbunny123.wordpress.com)