Losing Fat – Training High Reps to Failure

As you many already know, I am a fan of Will Brink and particularly enjoy his scientific approach to gaining muscle / losing fat.   Now I am not crazy about working out.  Given the choice between working out or playing COD Black Ops with a Long Island Iced Tea, I am going to struggle to make the best choice.  Hmmmm – I’m still struggling with that one… which is the best choice again?

So I am going to listen carefully to anyone who states that they have some scientific evidence on how I can get the same results with less work.  I am all for working smarter – not harder.  Now I used to believe that there were no “shortcuts” to building a great looking body with low fat levels (other than liposuction – but I wasn’t prepared to go there).  I thought that the only way was by spending at least an hour in the gym – preferably more – doing multiple sets per body part, training heavy (to failure) with around 6-8 reps.  I had trained heavy like this for years, only managing one body-part per week as I would be so sore for 6 days afterwards.  Being sore is a good thing right?  Shows that your muscle is rebuilding right?  I guess I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, as it took me over a year to realize that I’d hit a plateau and there wasn’t anywhere to go since I was already training to failure.

Then I bought Will’s e-book called Bodybuilding Revealed, and read through the work-out section.  Hmmm.  I was surprised.  Will encouraged “non-beginners” to do a 4 day split.  He even suggested what exercises to do, what rep range, and how many sets!  Even though I knew that my current routine left me too sore to do more than 1 body part per week, I committed to trying Will’s advice.

Wow, was I surprised.  Sure my body was sore when I first carried out the 2nd workout on the same week, for a bodypart, but my body adapted really fast.  By the second week I wasn’t as sore anymore.  In fact, I found that I’d get a little sore, but nowhere near as much as when I was training only once per week!  I also started growing.  A lot!  I put on about 3 kg of muscle in pretty short order (over 6 pounds).  My arms grew so much that I had to buy new shirts for work!  However the most surprising thing to me was that I was spending less time in the Gym!  My lower body workouts take about 40 minutes, and my upper body workouts about 50 minutes!  It is worth noting that I am very strict on rest periods between sets with my workouts now – just keeping them to 1 minute.

So this past week I read a new article on Will’s site about a recent study that shows that muscle protein synthesis is greater with higher reps than the traditional 6-10 range (or lower) that many people subscribe to.  In the study it showed that the synthesis continued much longer when 24 reps for a set where performed.  The key is to perform the set to failure. You can read more about it here.

So at yesterday’s workout I started to experiment with my lifts, trying to increase my rep amount per set.  I managed to get up to 16 reps for some of my sets (by lowering the weight), but it was not easy!  Increasing the reps of course increases the period under stress, and it was not nice.  I have my lower body workout tonight, and will try it again.

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