Archive for December, 2013

How to become a flexible trainee


It’s been a while since the last time I wrote a blog simply because if I decide to write one, I wanted to aim for a subject that is original from the rest of other fitness articles out there. These days, flexible dieting is becoming more and more popular. This is good because it liberates the dieters from restrictive dieting as I have explained here. However, everyone seems to talk about how to become a flexible dieter whilst the diet part is simply one part of the equation for successful body recomposition. The other half?

Become a flexible trainee

When I say flexible trainee, I am talking about recreational trainee in terms of bodybuilding, fitness or what have you. Who are considered recreational trainees? By definition, one is considered a recreational trainee if you are an average person with average job or lifestyle, and is simply exercising to either look better or become healthier without making fitness a priority. I think this is one of the biggest misconception many people believe that one must exercise everyday and diet religiously in order for them to reach their fitness endeavor. This is simply not true; if any, unless you are a 100% couch potato with no means of increasing your physical activities outside the gym, there is no need to exercise daily being a recreational trainee even if your goal is weight management. In the context of fat loss, regular exercise is good but is overrated in terms of energy expenditure. In reality, if you really want to increase your energy expenditure without severely restricting your calorie intake, increase your NEAT. Successful weight loss maintainers have consciously maintained their high physical activities on top of their regular exercise along with a sound diet.

Flexible training

Let’s face it, majority of people who jumps in the fitness bandwagon wants to be more aesthetically pleasing. Whether one aims to build muscle or lose fat, the same concept of flexible dieting also applies to flexible training. Take note that I am not talking about training when you only want to train. Flexible training is settings realistic training frequency based on your own lifestyle. It could be twice a week, thrice a week or what have you. In my experience, two-three times a week doing heavy weight session seems to be enough to maintain or prevent losing muscle. While we don’t have an access to muscle biopsy at home, we can only use strength as a proxy whether we’re losing muscle or not. Just like what the old saying says, “life is full of compromises indeed. Incorporating fitness in your lifestyle is not the same as making your life revolve around it. Of course, there are some exceptions to this principle because there are truly some people out there who does fitness by profession. If you are reading this blog, you are not one of them so by technical definition, you are a recreational trainee.

Yeah, it’s based on my personal anecdote

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But I made it work. For five consistent years of being married with three children while working two jobs including night shifts, I must say that I have successfully learned how to fit fitness in my lifestyle no matter what obstacle life brings me. How do I do it? I am citing my scenario because it leans towards the extreme: two jobs, sleep deprived, whacked circadian rhythm, chronic stress and not everyone’s lifestyle is like mine. Am I whining? Absolutely not. This is my personal choice and I was just using this example to prove that it can be done. For many years, I have been practicing flexible dieting and so far, I haven’t found any other more systematic approach than eating by numbers. But of course, if one cannot stick to eating by numbers, obviously for that person, it is not the optimal choice.

I have also learned how to listen to my body. In paper, I would like to set my training days on M-W-F, but the ideal is not what always happen in reality. I just make sure that I at least train 2-3 times a week maintaining the intensity (weight in the bar) during my lifting sessions. I also try to sleep whenever it’s possible because recovery and rest is just as important as diet and exercise. Diet and exercise work in conjunction to each other because regular exercise makes a person adhere more to his/ her diet. However, many people are commuting the repetitive black or white thinking or all or none principle. So to them, it’s either I exercise daily or not exercise at all. The ultimate key is consistency. Shit happens in real life scenario; we get sick, we are busy with work, with our family and realistically speaking, we need to make time for them also. If you skip training today, train the day after. Part of being consistent to get back on track when you missed it.

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