This thread is dedicated primarily to the discussion of high-intensity strength training and muscle building. I'd like to hear from the long distance/endurance side of the house as well, but I don't want the convo to break down into a debate between the marathoners and gym rats.
That said, I go back and forth between heavy weights (heavy for me that is) and lighter weight, fully body, high intensity exercises (crossfit type stuff). I lean more towards weight lifting though, as I'm generally trying to add muscle mass - losing excess fat is a piece of cake on a very low carb diet.
I posted the poll b/c I'm curious what kind of exercise you guys do, to see how many others have the same fitness goals as myself, and to share different thoughts and strategies on how best to to achieve those goals. I'll skip talking about what to do in the gym, as there is already tons of info out there on the what why and how. Instead I'd like to talk about diet and rest.
Rest: Has anyone noticed a decrease in recovery time with RP? I've gotten to the point where I notice my biggest gains are if I work the same muscle groups rather close together, sometimes consecutive days. I know it's said that you should only work each muscle group once a week, but I notice slow and sporadic gains when I try that. I don't think I've ever tried something like upper body 3 or 4 days in a row though. Anyone ever try that? What are your experiences with varying amt of rest between workouts?
Food: Here is where there seems to really be some conflicting advice, esp with low carb paleo type eating. The debate seems to center around muscle glycogen and insulin. I'd like to share some things I've read about insulin and human growth hormone, as well as a strategy for maximizing gains (I just started doing this), and see if anyone has tried it before or can share more info.
So when we work out we spend muscle glycogen for immediate energy. HGH is secreted and ends up primarily in the muscles being worked, sometime at the end of the workout to an hour after. Now conventional wisdom says that at the end of a lifting session, it is necessary to immediately replenish muscle glycogen and spike insulin to put the body into an anabolic state (taking in and storing nutrients), thus the protein smoothies and whatnot.
But I've been reading that insulin actually reduces HGH, and if you eat sugars/carbs before or after lifting, you can basically kiss your growth hormone goodbye. Instead, it's better to work out on a completly empty stomach, not eat afterwards until you get hungry, and when you are hungry to eat protein and fat but no carbs. The idea is to keep your body in ketosis: a state where you burn fat instead of sugar to obtain energy. Incidentally it seems very in line with a paleo mindset to go hunting (exercise) because you are hungry and on an empty stomach.
So the idea is to put you body into ketosis for 5-6 days per week, and then to carb load for 24-36 hours. In this period you want to reduce your fat intake while upping the carbs. The idea is this period will rapidly increase muscle glycogen for the following week (which I buy), the insuline spike will cause your body to store protein and begin muscle synthesis (which I also buy), and that despite insulin's generally negative effects on HGH, that your levels will actually surge (which I might not be able to buy w/o a good explanation). And because you are doing that for only 1 day, you aren't losing your adaptation for ketone metabolism (just as it takes a week or so to adapt to fat burning instead of carb burning, it takes a week or so to reverse the process).
Some will say, "yes, but what about glycogen replacement." Well, I've also been reading that there are multiple pathways the body can utilize for producing glucose when necessary, but only 1 pathway (insulin) for decreasing it. Thus, our bodies can become very adept at producing all the glucose we need even in the absence of dietary sugars. As a side note, the only time I get light-headed from standing too quickly is when I have been eating more carbs than usual (I'm already pretty low carb). Anyways, what it means is my blood sugars never really get that low on low carb, even though they can get low when on a higher carb diet.
So I've just started doing this to see if it actually works. I would always eat some kind of sugars before, or at least after the gym to hit that insulin spike. Now I realize it's possible I was shooting myself in the foot. The last few days I've been to the gym on an empty stomach. Warming up was a bit more difficult/longer the first couple days, but not so bad today. Like I said, I usually sugar spike myself before the gym. I'm going to limit my carbs even more during the week, and then splurge for that one day on carbs to see if this works.
Anyone ever heard of this before? Tried it before? Have info to add?