High Intensity Training Part 2….The Results

It would be a huge understatement to say I was more than surprised with the body composition changes made in just one month of high intensity training. If you read part one of this article a long term client kindly volunteered to take part in a high intensity training programme that I designed for her. As I said in part one, I would base the programme loosely on tabata training with some adjustments that I thought would benefit the programme if completed with weights. To refresh your mind, tabata training consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for four minutes and then repeated 8 times. My problem with the 20 seconds of work is that you will only get about 10 reps completed unless done in an explosive manner. During a normal hypertrophy programme, 10 completed reps would be an average type of rep range for most people. However with this type of programme design and only 10 second rest between sets, it just made more sense to me to do 15 reps to drive as much blood into the muscle for maximum pump. Also I didn’t want the reps to be completed in a too explosive a manner, I wanted the majority of the reps and sets to be completed in a controlled manner aiming for peak contraction, once again to assist with driving as much blood as possible into the muscle group being trained. I will admit though, if you are doing 6-7 sets of a single exercise with only 10 second rest intervals between sets once you hit the 5th 6th and 7th sets the reps do start to become a lot more explosive as you are doing all you can to reach the 15 reps without stopping. It can probably be best described as a nice form of torture! The sessions for the most part lasted 60 minutes. I also didn’t time the 4 minutes as with Tabata training. The reason being, apart from the 10 seconds in between sets and one to two minutes rest between exercises we didn’t stop. In one hour we were getting through 50-60 sets- believe me when I say it was intense.
This might be a good time to say that I designed this programme with with an advanced trainer in mind or at least under the supervision of a trainer. The programme itself is extremely intense and unforgiving. You will be training under extreme fatigue, that being said the results are truely amazing if a trial period of one month is anything to go by.

The Programme

Ok- let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of the programme. Firstly to manage with the intensity you are going to need some form of aerobic fitness under your belt, I can personally vouch for this. Having not engaged in a lot of cardio until this year, I know I would never had made it through 60 minutes of this training in the past. With only 10 seconds rest between sets some aerobic fitness is a must. I’m not going to run through every exercise and set, but if you do the math with only 10 seconds between sets and 1-2 minutes between exercises you are going to be completing close to 60 sets in one hour of training. For Gill we did a 3 day split doing pressing movements one day chest, shoulders and triceps, legs and abs on day two and pulling movements on day three – back and biceps. An example of day one would be : three chest exercises and 6 sets of each exercise and 15 reps for all 18 sets. The same process for shoulders and triceps for a total of 54 sets. Depending on recovery between exercises we sometimes ended up with more sets added in. The goal is also finding a weight where you are hitting muscular failure at 15 reps for all 6-7 sets before moving on to the next exercise. If Gill was reaching muscular failure at say 10 reps I would assist her to reach 15 on each and every set.
One key element of this programme is not to get caught up going from one exercise to the next. Meaning you can’t afford to be held up for 5 minutes or even longer waiting for equipment. One of the key advantages of running my own one on one personal training gym is I can have every single piece of equipment setup and ready to go for my clients prior to the session commencing, this is especially important on this type of programme where the maximum amount of rest between exercises is 2 minutes after completing 6-7 sets of 15 reps with only 10 second breaks.

I wanted the results of this programme to be based purely on training results. I asked Gill to make no changes to her cardio regime or her diet leading up to the programme or during the programme. She started out at 53.1kg and 22.5% body fat. After exactly one month of this training her weight was 53kg on the dot but her body fat had dropped to 20%. That’s a 2.5% drop in body fat and a 1.2kg gain in lean body mass in just one month of training. That’s a huge change in body composition in just one month especially for someone with 10 plus years of resistance training under her belt.
What we all have to remember is what we see on the scales is just a number. Admittedly sometimes that number is just way too big, or too small if weight gain is your goal. If you do resistance training there’s no point taking any notice of what you BMI is because a BMI test does not take muscle into account, so unless you are are a couch potato and do no resistance training BMI testing is worthless and won’t apply to you. What does apply and is relevant is your body composition as it gives you the true indication of where you are at. I’ve never seen such rapid results in body composition as I have with this programme. It’s intense and unforgiving but if rapid results in body composition are what you’re after – take up the challenge and give it a go.

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