NUTRITION IS NUMBER ONE.
If I am eating more calories than my body is using I will gain weight, if I eat less I will lose weight. If your goal is to lose body fat then you need to be in a caloric deficit, if your goal is to gain size and muscle mass then you need to eat more calories to fuel muscle growth. So I need to make sure I am eating the correct calories to support the training that I am doing, no more and no less. I recommend following the CrossFit prescription of “meat, veg, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.” It sounds easy but this is often the hardest part. Nutrition matters. Once I have nutrition locked in then we can look at the training and which type of training will get you the body you want.
Benefits of Bodybuilding
Most often in a regular gym situation training with weights, we are looking at 4 sets of 8-12 reps with 2min rest in between, doing 2 to 3 exercises for each body part and moving on. If I am doing a 4 day split I might hit back and biceps day 1, legs day 2, chest and triceps day 3, shoulders abs day 4. This is a staple body building routine. The reps are sometimes changed around in phases, 4-6 reps is where we build the best mass in the muscle, 8-10 we are starting to shape as well as grow, 12-15-20 we are really looking to develop shape in the muscle or fill the muscle with as much blood as possible and reach “fatigue”. There is a lot more detail that goes into a well thought out program but we can say that these are the basics.
Training like this is guaranteed to build size and muscle and help you lean down. Training days are split up by muscle groups, so you have enough time for the muscle to recover before training the same group again. As long as you train hard, keep yourself accountable, and follow the program Bodybuilding does work!
Enter Olympic Weightlifting
With the sport of weightlifting we are not looking to increase the size of the muscle, we are looking to strengthen the muscle and develop POWER, the critical factor that is missing from Bodybuilding. In OWL we are training low reps of 5 and under (5x5 is cardio for a weightlifter!). Reps of just 2 or 3 are what you will see on an OWL program. Now we are starting to focus on muscle fibers, fast and slow twitch.
With the sport of weightlifting we are not looking to increase the size of the muscle, we are looking to strengthen the muscle and develop POWER, the critical factor that is missing from Bodybuilding.
For regular gym goers who just want to get fit and stay healthy, I think we should ask ourselves do I want to be as big as possible or as strong as possible? Do I need to be big? Will I be able to do the same things if I am big?
Training like a weightlifter will get you lean and strong, you will hold muscle mass and you will be powerful as a person, which means you will be able to run fast off the mark, jump high, throw a ball faster, and be all around more athletic.
Crossfit – Why We Do Both
In CrossFit there is a mix of both of these styles. You train low reps in your strength work, and you train high reps in your conditioning. CrossFit is that style of training that uses all of the reps we mentioned to reap all the benefits, in the beginning you may feel like your loosing muscle because you’re still learning the techniques and need to go lighter… BUT as you become more experienced your skill level will go up along with your weights. From them on it is full steam ahead and you’ll be able to lift as heavy as you can, as often as you can. You will be able to eat and train like an athlete. You will find a new level of self-confidence and feel that you are able to do anything. With this type of feeling you will find your inner athlete!
So to answer the question Bodybuilding will increase size, Olympic Weightlifting will make you strong, flexible and powerful, and CrossFit is going to do a mix of everything. It will give you overall strength and size with agility and the confidence of an athlete who can run, jump, throw some weight around, and get bigger once you have a skill to lift heavy weights.
No matter what style you choose if you train hard, eat well and do the work you will see the results you want. There is no short cut in training, no quick fix, no magic shake or supplement. It will take months to see results and maybe years to get the body you are after, but the health benefits and confidence in yourself happen much sooner and will last a lifetime.
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