2013-08-05

Phase 2 Of 8W

Given that today marks the beginning of the second half, or "phase 2," of my 8W shenanigans, I thought I might provide some general thoughts, concepts, etc. on how to approach the next four weeks.

If you've been following this somewhat ambitious set of workouts, you know that we spent the previous four weeks doing a lot of resistance training. What we were trying to do is build muscle mass and strength, in addition to gradually increasing our cardiovascular work load week-by-week. For what it's worth, I gained about 5-10 pounds over the past four weeks, something that I did not manage to do when I was dedicating myself to BodyBuilding.com workouts. Take that for what it's worth - perhaps those workouts are not right for me, or perhaps they had a delayed effect, or perhaps a million other things. What I do know is that the last four weeks have been good to me in terms of muscle mass, tone, and strength. I hope they have also been good to you.

But the pattern of this type of working out tends to be: (a) build your muscles up, followed by (b) "cut," or reduce the amount of fat on your body. Considering that general concept, it should be clear that the previous four weeks were dedicated to (a), and the next four weeks will be dedicated to (b).

While that is the general pattern, the big difference you'll notice with 8W, in contrast to other such workout schedules, is that we'll be cutting for a lot longer on my program. The reason for this is that I don't truly believe in body-building as an approach to fitness. While it's possible to essentially starve/ketosis yourself to a leaner body composition, it isn't suitable as a long-term approach. This is why most body-builders have to deliberately cut, while distance runners like me simply lack body fat without having to think about it.

Rather than employing rabbit starvation techniques for body composition purposes, I've opted to increase the amount of cardiovascular exercise in the program, while emphasizing strength training techniques rooted in calisthenics and plyometrics. What this means is that you'll be running and jumping yourself lean. Your core will develop strength that you didn't have previously.

As you work your way through the cardio, push yourself. If you're not sweating and panting, then you're not burning fat. While all that "research" out there insists that you can burn more fat in a 20-minute HIIT session than you can on a 10-mile run, you might not be getting the whole story. The whole story requires the addition of a single sentence: This research further supports the idea that pushing hard during a workout burns more fat than taking it easy. Of course, that's pretty much a no-brainer, and hardly newsworthy, which is why you never read it. The general idea here is that if you want your 30-minute run to work as well as a 15-minute HIIT session, all you need to do is run faster. Simple.

And even if you find this difficult, my 8W phase 2 has plenty of plyometrics to keep you gasping for air. I even have your HIIT covered, too. It's all there, so just trust in the system... Four more weeks to go!