SS interfering with cardiovascular fitness
Hey there Andy,
I'm somewhat hesitant to post this in Mark's Q&A because he'd probably just yell at me for being a pussy so I thought I might initially ask you for some advice instead.
I've been on SS for about 8 months now, and by staying as true to its fundamentals as possible, I've completely disregarded any type of aerobic/cardiovascular exercise (running, swimming, cycling etc...) I am now seeing an immense drop in my overall fitness. Like, for example, I'm finding it difficult to WALK up a set of 120 stairs that I used to be able to RUN up........at the end of a 45min run. And it's especially disappointing because I was a junior tennis professional in my teenage years, and now at 22, I feel like an unfit loser with completely fucked up cardiovascular levels. Like, I don't even think it's healthy anymore. I feel heavy, slow and inert.
Now I do understand that it's about choosing one or the other; either being super strong or super fit, but there MUST be a way to find some sort of compromise, even though it may slow down/prolong my strength gains. I am certain that it's totally possible to be strong AND aerobically fit because I've met people that have both these qualities. I just don't think it's healthy anymore for me to continue placing a 300lb+ bar on my back 3 times a week and then just sit on my ass and pig out on food when I'm out of the gym.
I would really appreciate any advice you'd have for me. Thank you Andy.
You are just a pussy.
Look....here is what people fail to understand about this balance between strength and conditioning......building peak strength takes about 20 years of dedicated work and planning. Building peak conditioning takes about 8-12 weeks of dedicated work......usually less if you are at least somewhat in shape when you start to try and peak.
In our hypothetical 20 year quest to build peak strength, we have this window at the beginning of our training where we are capable of experiencing "The Novice Effect." In other words, at no other time in our training careers are we capable of building strength and mass at this ridiculously rapid rate.
So for us as strength coaches who have witnessed this effect, we don't want to do anything to derail these gains or impede the potential for growth and strength. So, at this time in a person's training career we will SACRIFICE cardiovascular conditioning for strength. We do this, not because cardio is unimportant, but because we know WE CAN GET OUR CARDIO BACK IN A MATTER OF WEEKS!!!!
Once someone has ran the course on a basic linear progression there is no reason they cannot begin a program that strikes more balance between the two attributes. As long as the conditioning is phased in intelligently, you will be able to hang on to those hard earned strength gains while getting yourself in better condition.
Jim Wendler has an excellent article on how he un-fat-fucked himself several years ago while maintaining strength. Basically started out with some walking every day, then progressed to walking with a weighted vest, then started running small parts of his walks, and eventually progressed to hardcore Prowler sessions and hill sprints 3-4 times per week. Now the dude is a total fucking machine....but he got strong first, fat boy style.
Do you happen to have this article?
Originally Posted by KSC
I would potentially like to incorporate some aerobic type exercises as well, while trying not to affect my strength training too much.
No but I'm sure you could find it at elitefts.com
I think the article was "From Fat Ass to Bad Ass"....I just read it not too long ago.
Andy this is a very succinct yet clearly explained idea of training priorities.
Originally Posted by KSC
I will be quoting it elsewhere.
Have you had much success with the general public who "just want to get in shape" understanding, believing and implementing "fat-boy style" strength training before worrying about aesthetics or conditioning?
If so what demographics do better or worse with this (if you care to share)?
It is very hard to convince the general public that strength training and building muscle is the key to achieving their aesthetic goals. Some will come to understand this if they stay with you long enough and if you take the time to educate them along the way.....and if they pay attention to what is going on.
Me and Matt Reynolds were talking about this at the SS Seminar last weekend. You put women on a program that is half barbell training and half bootcamp style conditioning circuits and they will inherently think that the conditioning is what is changing their bodies when we both know it is their 5 rep squats and deadlifts that are doing that job.....but you have to give the public a little bit of what they want, blended with what you KNOW they need. Its a little bit of a compromise but I think it is necessary if you are gonna build a large client base out of the general public.
I think there are a few reasons why it is such a struggle to get people doing what actually works:
1) Most of the general public has had decades worth of social conditioning and misinformation heaped on them from a variety of sources - media, friends, doctors, shitty trainers, etc. It is very hard for you to get them to unlearn all that shit in 1 to 3 hours per week.
2) Our culture is intellectually lazy. I think we are more intellectually lazy than we are physically lazy. People are so goddamn ignorant of how their own body works and they aren't really interested in expanding their knowledge base or listening to your explanation of why things are the way they are.
3) The so called experts and professionals in our industry do not do the most effective forms of exercise. We still have people balancing on Bosu balls and believing that somehow medicine balls have any ability whatsoever to do anything transformative to your physique.
To the second part of your question:
Women are more intellectually lazy than men and have also had more layers of bullshit information thrown at them that needs to be undone. So women are harder to sell on real effective types of training, but are an easy sell on bullshit that appeals to their emotional needs and what they have been socially conditioning to believe. Women tend to have heaps of irrational fears about exercise that are more emotional than anything, and if you learn anything from marriage it is that reason and logic have no impact on emotion. Men tend to be more skeptical of the information that is thrown at them and have a better ability to seperate bullshit from truth.
That being said, older women tend to be easier to sell on barbell training than younger women.
Women are also narcissistic, my first reaction to that was "so I'm intellectually lazy AND old?".
I added some conditioning back into my training in April after stopping all of it last summer and it is no longer torturous and almost kind of fun again.
Men are narcissistic too but in a little different manner.