Follow a Long-Term Approach to Fitness

Image by laurasmoncur This is the first installment of the “Shah Training is Not Bodybuilding” series. The name is lame, sorry. And I’m not trying to say that there is anything wrong with bodybuilding. I’m just saying that we’re a little different here. And by different, I mean that the Shah Training philosophy is best suitable for the beginner, or average trainee.

The issue that I have with bodybuilding, if you can even call it an issue, is that the average beginner will start off with a split-body program. You have 120lbers telling you that they train their arms 3 times a week, their chest twice a week, and their legs once a week. There is a BIG problem with that.

It all Started with a Debate

I once had a very “heated” but nice debate with my cousin one time on the phone. It all started when he started talking about how much weight he was using and how much muscle he’d gained on a training program that I did not prescribe to him. I basically started out by saying something like, “Why the hell are you following a split training program?”

After that, we went back and forth on the topic until he stated one thing that still stick out in the back of my head:

“Well, if I’m getting results with what I’m doing, how do you expect me to believe that full body is better?”

I responded: “Because I’m the expert.” That’s almost like saying, “Because I said so.”

Yes, for a complete beginner, any sort of training program will yield gains in lean muscle mass. But absolute gains in lean muscle mass is not what I’m really looking at.

Whatever Goes Up Must Come Down

People come back to me and say, “Oh I put on 10 lbs of muscle real quick, but then I stopped eating and I dropped like 8 lbs.” Well duh!

Bodybuilding has something we call “Bulking” and “Cutting” phases. A bulking phase is where you eat a whole lot of food, don’t do any cardio and let yourself get fat just so that you can weigh more on the scale. And then you cut, meaning that you do a ton of cardio, severely restrict calories, so that you can reveal your six pack abs.

I read somewhere that “almost anything will work with bodybuilders because we’re such a dedicated group of individuals.”

That’s true. I respect bodybuilders because of their dedication. I do believe that they are border line insane to be sacrificing so much 6 months out of the year just so they can don some Speedos and stand up on stage with a whole bunch of half-naked guys for some prize money they may not even win. But hey, the rest of the world are not bodybuilders and you need to realize that.

Follow a Long-Term Approach

  • I recently gave this example VIA Facebook to one of my readers: “I have cousins who stay super ripped but they only weight 120lbs. I tell them they should probably stay on a mass gain cycle for about 5-6 years to really build a solid base. THink about it, if you put on 30 lbs of mass over 6 years, so lets say you’re 198 6 years from now, and then you try to drop fat (given that your bf% isn’t above 15), then you’ll look amazing at say, 183-185lbs.”

Do you see what I’m saying here? Take a long-term approach to both muscle gain and fat loss and you’ll be more satisfied in the long run. If my friend were to go from 120 to 125 in a month, can you imagine how much he’d have to eat and train for that five pounds of muscle?

We don’t realize how much our body hates change. If we “shock” it too much, then it’s going to think that there’s something wrong. There is some sort of “danger” there and it’ll adapt for a short period of time. But when things go back to “normal” and when we start to eat normal, then our body goes back to normal. Back to 120lbs.

Based on Experience

  • I’ll give you guys one last example: 17 months ago, I was overweight at 25% bodyfat. I was addicted to Taco Bell, Starbucks, and Soda. I no longer have any cravings for those three things now. If I said to myself, “oh for 12 weeks I’m just going to stop all junk food,” then I’m giving myself a reason to get in shape, but then also a way to get out of shape. Do you see what I’m saying?

I want to hear your own stories. What experiences have you had with trying to put on muscle and lose fat? What I want to know is which method worked for you? A long-term approach, or a short-term approach?