The Secret Athletes Use to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle FastAug 28, 2011
If you want better body composition through fat loss and muscle gain , take a few tips from the world of athletic performance. When my young triathlete team warms up, we always do something called neuromuscular activation. In other words, we get the nervous system working with the muscles in order to improve how many muscle fibers they will recruit during their workout. This gives them a huge advantage in terms of speed and performance but it will also help anyone lose weight and build muscle. In the Exercising Values short daily workouts this concept is incorporated into the warm-ups where they also increase coordination and proprioception (a big word that just means having an awareness of where your body is in space). Our nervous system controls our muscles and clearly needs to be trained.
With my youth triathlon team we have what we call our "secret handshake" which is actually a drill that I use to give them the advantage of increasing their muscle strength by up to 30% by using the movement planning center of their brains. They touch their nose with one hand and slip their arm through to touch their ear with their other hand and then switch hands as rapidly as possible. This is challenging and fun for them but it is fun with a purpose. Pre-motor activation gets them ready to move with more technical skill and grace, more power and strength, and with more stamina and efficiency. Our secret handshake is their secret to maximizing what they will get out of their workout. Improved motor unit recruitment means increased force of muscle contraction and purposely training your nervous system is the key.
When I'm working with my early morning cycle class, I sometimes have them sustain high rpm's for a prolonged period of time after they have built a solid base of cardiovascular and muscle strength because, in spite of their impressive fitness level, a sluggish nervous system will limit their performance. They need to learn to use all of the fitness they have worked so hard to create. Short and long duration speed drills help them to do this.
In the daily Exercising Values workouts, we use a dynamic warm-up because the key to accelerating fat loss is using more body parts at once in order to raise the energy cost or MET of the movement. We are activating a lot of muscles while resting others in a process known as reciprocal inhibition. You can maybe tell that I teach personal training at Heritage College and get used to throwing terms like this around so give me just a minute to explain this probably unfamiliar term.
Reciprocal inhibition simply means turning off the nerve signal to the muscle opposite to the one I am using. For example, when I work my bicep with a bicep curl I am resting my tricep at the same time. This is a protective mechanism that facilitates movement around a joint. Switching back and forth between work and rest allows me to work the muscles harder in a short period of time and is one technique I use in Exercising Values to give you maximum results in minimal time.
Application of scientific training principles is done for you when you do the Exercising Values daily program. Equal care is taken to interweave concepts that will strengthen your family's character and discipline as well. A strong mind in a strong body has been a well-respected goal throughout the centuries and remains so today. Character strengthens our minds which then strengthens our bodies. Just like our nervous system works like the roots of a tree to nourish and stimulate the more visible muscles; our character drives the thoughts that control our behavior. Systematically training our children's character will yield results even beyond what training their nervous system does for their athletic potential.
It pays to give some thought to how a workout is put together so you get optimal results. In the same way, it pays to put thought and care into our daily interactions with our children. For the same time and effort, we will then get better results. Of course, this kind of planning takes time and that is why I provide done for you workouts and character training so you can put your limited and valuable time into implementing these ideas with your family. We want to get it done, not just endlessly plan and prepare. So please take this leg up and get started maximizing your fat loss and muscle gain, your family time and parenting skills, and most importantly your connection with your children and your ability to help them reach their potential and achieve their dreams. Do it today.
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