Day 39- Train Endurance Or Train Strength?


Can you train for endurance and strength at the same time? Yes. Can you achieve greatness in both modalities at once doing so? No. The novice effect, whereby a trainee will make seemingly phenomenal linear gains in strength sometimes for months at the beginning of a weight training regimen only lasts for so long before basic biomechanical laws take over and plateaus are reached. Very focused endurance training can also make remarkable gains for about 2 months before certain barriers are reached.

What happens then? What causes all of the gains to stop? Growth happens. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Maybe not. Let’s look at strength first. Resistance is applied to muscle groups using for example, free weights. The muscle groups affected are only groups that are exposed, arms don’t grow because you are training legs, etc. Strength is composed of two components, the amount of muscle tissue available and the amount of available tissue that you can recruit to make a single movement. Oone part is a physical quantity and the second is a trained neuromuscular response. During the initial phase of novice training, the neuromuscular recruitment is much more easily adapted and this is where the perceived gains are coming from, we are learning to use more of our muscle to lift heavier. Once we reach the limit of how much muscle we can recruit at a single moment the body then needs to grow more muscle for us to recruit before we can progress, it is as simple as that. Growing lean muscle mass is a very slow process, a life long process that can only go so far, there is no ‘easy button’ for biology.

Now let’s look at endurance. The slow twitch muscles that we use for endurance movements like running, cycling and swimming work pretty much whenever we want them to, they ask only for oxygen and energy from fat stored in our bodies. The systems responsible for endurance are like any thing else, trainable. In a sedentary individual these systems are disorganized, they lack a leader. The energy storing/using bits don’t know day to day whether to store fat or burn it. By applying stress to the muscles in the form of endurance work on a regular basis at an appropriate level(level 2/3 if your counting) you impose a workload that requires your body to burn fat for energy at an optimum level while streamlining the uptake and delivery of oxygen to the muscles. Once everything is working, the correct enzymes are breaking down fat as fast as they can, the lungs are at capacity, the blood is flowing to the muscles as best it can, then endurance growth stops. Why? All things remaining equal you will eventually run out of fat, you will have to eat more to continue to progress. Your lung capacity can change a small amount but only very slowly. In order to pass more energy to the muscles the body has to grow additional blood vessels, capillaries, and this takes a great deal of time.

I am not saying that you cannot train for endurance and strength at the same time and make some gains in both directions, I am simply pointing out that the goals are different and the muscles involved and the way that they are trained are different. Think of fitness as climbing a very large hill, you won’t get to the top in a day, but the longer you keep at it, the better the view. Nothing is impossible unless you quit trying.

my food
6 eggs(480 cal.)P42F31.8C2.4
pork chorizo(570 cal.)P30F45C12
total=1050 cal.P 72 F 76.8 C 14.4
5.2 oz.peanut butter(936 cal.)P31.2F83.2C36.4
1 sleeve of crackers(490 cal.)P7F10.5C84
total=1426 cal. P 38.2 F 93.7 C 120.4
daily total=2476 cal. P 110.2 F 170.5 C 134.8

My workout

1 mile run
back squats
3 sets x 5 reps @195#

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