Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Get Strong, and Laugh a Little – Installment 3

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Reading today’s blog post should instantly drop your body fat by about 10% and increase your bench press by 50 pounds.  I can’t however, guarantee that you’ll laugh at my attempts at humor.

1. I just came across this recently published study: The effects of resistance training on endurance capacity and muscle fiber composition in young top-level cyclists.  Researchers put a group of cyclists through 16 weeks of resistance training alongside their normal endurance training, and assessed muscle fiber composition and a variety of performance measures pre- and post-intervention.  A control group only did the endurance component.

When all was said and done, researchers found that the combined group improved maximal muscular strength and rate of force development, a change that wasn’t seen with the endurance-only group.  Both groups improved their short-term (5min) endurance capacity, but only the group that strength training improved in a 45- minute test.  So, effectively, you can say that these athletes improved in both endurance measures and strength/power measures simultaneously (probably helped by the fact that cyclists aren’t exactly what I’d call “trained” in a strength training context – so they simply filled a void).

However, it’s a good lesson to be learned for the endurance athletes out there.  The endurance-only group was completely specific in their training; they only did cycling.  One might think that this specificity would allow them to achieve greater short-term results on endurance tests, but the opposite was true; those who did more strength training improved faster on both short and long measures of endurance performance (and without a change of muscle capillarization, an aerobic adaptation important for endurance athletes).  This just goes to show you that you need to exploit your windows of adaptation – even if they aren’t things you enjoy doing.

As a brief aside, my buddies Mike Westerdal and Elliott Hulse took some heat for talking about a “Type 3” muscle fiber in the weeks leading up to the release of their Lean Hybrid Muscle program.

My impression of what they intended was a type II fiber (presumably a IIa fiber) that could “swing” either way and hold both favorable endurance properties (e.g., capillarization, mitochondrial density) and strength qualities (e.g., maximal strength, rate of force development, and cross-sectional area).  This study tends to substantiate that assertion, as the research has shown (as with this study) that all training leads to a shift toward a slower twitch phenotype – but NOT all training leads to concurrent improvements in both endurance and strength/power measures.  Sure, we didn’t have the most highly trained resistance training athletes, but I’d argue that they are more “fit” and “adapted” than a huge majority of the general population who participates in weight training.  Food for thought.

2. It’s remarkable how similar the “Sillies” are to the new fitness gadgets that come out each week, huh?

3. That answers this question:

4. This is an old Precision Nutrition article that I just happened to come across, but it is absolutely fantastic (and very enlightening). I’m not a cereal guy, and thanks to this article, I doubt I’ll become one anytime soon: All About Breakfast Cereals.

Back tomorrow with more madness…

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