We know the importance of sleep when it comes to recovery, but did you know it also plays a role in body composition?
A common thing I hear amongst clients is that ‘they get enough sleep for them.’ Further questioning then indicates that this could look like 6 hours on average per night. Time and time again research has shown that humans need between 7-9 hours on average, with athletes requiring up to 9 due to the physical demands placed on their bodies.
Now, put someone in a calorie deficit who is low on sleep and it’s a sure recipe for disaster. When we’re low on sleep, we experience an increase in the hormone ghrelin and a reduction in leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that is released from the stomach and signals to the brain that it’s time to eat. Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells and regulates hunger through signalling to the brain that we’re satisfied/full. With a decrease in sleep comes a decrease in leptin and overall energy and...
For us as athletes we are always striving to drive our performance to new heights, we obsess over the smallest details that will allow us to get most out of our training and to maximise our results. For many individuals, they believe the way to achieve this is by finding the next product or a new secret technique but, sometimes less is more! The belief that all improvement takes is a little more work along with some extra blood and tears is a frame of mind that is prevalent within the lifting community but, just because some is good DOES NOT mean more is better. Sometimes it is not a lack of work that holds back progress but a lack of structured recovery, that is why today I wish to explore the importance of deloading and the place it should hold within your programming.
First things first, what classifies a deload and how should they be structured? A deload is defined as a pre-determined or self-regulated period (usually a week), in which your volume or intensity is titrated to...
The reality for many of us is that we are not professional athletes.
Training, although an essential part of life, can't often take the place of the highest priority over things like work, family and lifestyle and honestly, nor should it.
Training is a tool we use to drive positive health outcomes and work towards our strength or fitness goals, and for some of us to make that happen, it has to be relegated to the early morning shift, where you can steal a bit of free time.
For many, including myself, the struggle has always been making early morning training feel as productive as training later in the day, especially if you are hitting heavy compound work or sessions of a high load or intensity.
Questions like to eat or not to eat, how to get moving as fast as possible and how to manage your time effectively are all things I want to give you the answers to today!
Half of the battle regarding early morning movement is setting clear...
When it comes to preparing for competition, I want my athletes to be as ready as they can be and this includes down to their preferred method of caffeine consumption (pending they are able to tolerate caffeine)
If unsure what their preferred approach is, I like to get my clients to test multiple methods around their training to help determine what works best for them.
Before we get into it, why would someone use caffeine to assist with performance? For starters, we experience the following benefits:
Physiological changes occurring following caffeine ingestion:
- Stimulation of areas of the brain and nervous system reducing tiredness and improving cognition
- Releases epinephrine, which is involved in increased performance and the fight or flight response
- Increased neuronal activity and excitability, improving motor performance and increasing the strength of muscle contractions
Some other potential benefits specific to performance and strength training:
For many athletes and coaches their programs and exercises within it are like a revolving door. As soon as a movement gives the slightest hint of stall or the pre-thought out 4 weeks has concluded, it seems there is a complete teardown and rebuild of the entire program's exercise selection.
It is a habit which can become an easy pitfall to slowly leak possible progression over time. This is the problem which i wish to attack in today's instalment of coach zac writes things on the internet, how often should a program change? How often should you change movements and when do you know it is the correct time to do so on a per athlete basis. WELL, keep scrolling to find out.
To set the precedence, for me how I would visualise a program at its base form, (which includes things like rep schemes, your main lift variations and your adherence to basic training principles) is like the foundation and scaffolding of a building. Before anything...
Are you maxing too often?
Constantly testing your 1 rep max is a pitfall myself and many other people have fallen into. I remember hitting a max squat every week for about a year. I made zero progress and had no idea why. Looking back, I’m honestly amazed I didn’t pick up an injury.
Maxing is fun. I get it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help you get ahead at all.
I believe ‘Powerlifting training’ works for people often because they have set numbers to hit. They have numbers based off of their 1RM’s to hit for particular days and this is a tool which can force you to keep progressing. Good bodybuilders and other sports do this too but it’s less common as our whole sport is based on hitting these maxes.
So, 1RM testing can give you an indication of how you are progressing and allows you to implement the correct training percentages for each main lift as you go from training block to training block. Keeping your training honest and focused on your...