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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
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Trainees Who Kid Themselves
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sector7

Dr Darden, I have supervised trainees who did everything they could to convince onlookers that they were working hard, but were not going to failure in their exercises despite my best efforts to encourage them to work harder.

I believed for a long time that this was a failing on my part, and I looked for ways to improve my technique as an instructor. After years of encountering trainees who just didn?t get it, I realise that you can only lead a horse to water, but you can?t make it drink.

The really annoying thing about all this is that I know of at least one trainee who I supervised who was never willing to work hard, but played to the gallery during the time I supervised him, that has since publicly blamed HIT for his lack of progress. In reality his lack of progress is down to his inability to work hard, unrealistic expectations, and poor genetics for bodybuilding.

I?m sure that his is not an isolated case, and there are many bad workmen who blame their tools, but what can be done to combat those who try to bad-mouth HIT because of their own failings in the gym?
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Ellington Darden

To Craig Knight,

You're right. Not everyone who's interested in bodybuilding can get into HIT. As I pointed out in my new book, Arnold Schwarzenegger for whatever reason couldn't stomach it, and neither could a lot of other well-known bodybuilders. HIT is not for everybody.

In the interview article I did with Drew Baye, I noted that Lou Schuler, my editor from Rodale, and I did some estimates on the number people applying HIT in the United States.

We figured that 20 million people lift weights regularly. The vast majority of them, 68 percent or 13.6 million, sort of flounder in the middle. Who knows what they do, but they certainly don't do anything consistently. On one side of the middle are the high-volume trainees (HVT) and they number approximately 3.2 million. And one the other side are the high-intensity trainees (HIT), who also number 3.2 million -- or they did when HIT was in it's heyday, 1980.

Today, HIT has shrunk by approximately 50 percent, and HVT has increased by 50 percent. And the middle is virtually the same.

So, one of my goals is to bring back to the HIT fold, many of those previous HITTERS, who drifted to the other side. And of course, keep the longtime HITTERS involved, and try to influence some of middle folks to give HIT a fair trial.

HIT, in my experience, is still the most effective and efficient way to build muscular size and strength.
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Charles Coulter

New York, USA

Craig, I feel your pain. lol

I've had several trainees like that myself. It is very frustrating.

Something that helps them see that they have a responsibility in their progress, is to have them write out all their goals and reasons for training. Also list what they are willing to do to reach these goals. Probably have to sit down with them so that it's on paper.

Now when they start dogging it, you can say "I thought you were willing to ______".

A little leverage sometimes helps, if not then they only have themselves to blame, that is if they understand what realistic is.
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Jeff60

Hey Craig... where have you been hiding in recent years? Have searched for you but could never find you. I well remember the times we trained at Ben's place and saw all the face pullers. HIT worked for me then. It works for me now. I agree there are many 'fakers'. Still disagree on the frequency of workouts and prefer to train once every 7-10 days but I train to failure (no faking) and am as big and strong (if not stronger) than in the good old days. BTW now 43 and living Down Under (Melbourne)
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Mark S

hi jeff its mark,would you mind sharing your thoughts on why training every 7-10 days is the correct amount,as i understand it you would have to be very advanced to be training this infrequently
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Jeff60

Hi Mark,
I should be clear on my description of training frquency. I train with weights once every 7-10 days but walk for 40 minutes 3 times a week - so effectively I'm training 4 times a week.

I've found through trial and error that when I weight train more frequently - say every other day - my strength soon starts to decline at a rapid rate. As I usually haven't changed any other factor (e.g intensity of effort, methodology used - such as rep speed, amount of food, rest, walking patterns etc) I've become convinced that it's an effect of overtraining. The last time I tried to increase frequency and suffered from this effect was June this year.

Although intensity of effort is hard to measure - the other factors aren't. As you know I've been training for 30 years so, even though it's hard to measure, I'm pretty sure I have some stability in my intensity and that I'm training with sufficient intensity of effort.

My hypothesis is strengthed (no pun intended) when I decrease my weight training frequency. Every time I do this I get stronger for prolonged periods until I start to plateau. Then I take about 3 weeks off and lo and behold my strength goes up again.

Assuming all things being equal: more strength = something positive is happening to my body. Now, having said all that, I don't believe training frequency and strength gains are the total answer. I'm always disappointed at the level of muscle I retain and the level of muscle gains I see.

My weight is generally stable and only goes up a pound here and there if I purposely increase my calories by 300 a day. This indicates there is some fine balance between intensity, frequency (i.e. rest) and nutritional intake. I currently consume 3000 a day in a 55% Carbs, 35% Proteins and 10-15% fat ratio, (NB: this is not around, approx, roughly - I used a nutritional expert to set up my diet and weigh all my food). The result is that I have been a stable 210lbs (15% bodyfat) for 5 months - even though I'm stronger. This is too fat and I want to get down to 10-12% hence the walking. When I increase my cals to 3300, with the view that muscle uses more fuel and my body needs the extra it's not muscle that I gain - it's more fat! The net result is that when I weight train every 7/10 days and maintain my cals at 3000 I get stronger but not bigger or leaner. When I increase my cals to 3300 I get even stronger but fatter. When I increase my training frequency I get weaker!

Consequently I've still failed to identify the factor that is stopping me. It could be any number including age, levels of stress, etc, etc. If you've got any ideas let me know.

Hope this answers your question. As we've known each other for 20+ years if you want to contact me directly let me know and I'll give you my email address. Melbourne's much nicer than Leicester this time of year!

Jeff

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sector7

Jeff, hey, yes I do remember you.

I remember Ben's well. And I remember how much of a struggle I had trying to convince you to try Nautilus and HIT. I'm glad I was able to persuade you to try, and I'm glad that you are still using HIT.

Not convinced about that frequency though. 7-10 days is a long time between workouts - I'll never forget how reluctant you were to give up your frequent, multiple-set Arnold training when I met you - how times have changed!

Still, it's results that count and you have made amazing progress since Ben's. 210lb at 15% body fat at your height is a lot bigger than you were back then - you were 180lb and very soft. Do you have a recent photo; I would love to see how you look now with thirty pounds more beef on your frame.

So you live in Australia now? Is that your idea of "Upside-Down Bodybuilding"? Sorry, couldn't resist.

Craig
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Jeff60

Craig,
You're memory must be fading! I was 210lbs and lean when we trained together and I was already following a HIT (Mentzer type workout). Don't you remember me training to get ready for a contest in Hinckley?

My only reluctance to going to L.Spa was 1. the distance from where we lived to Ben's and 2. I thought that the Nautilus machines didn't have enough of a weight stack for me to use - I was wrong on both counts!!

Don't have any photos. I consider I'm far too fat to want to record what I look like.
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sector7

Sorry, Jeff, I thought you were a guy I used to know. I don't know you at all.
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Jeff60

Yeah... must be a different Craig Knight... sorry!
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JonnieZ



"Today, HIT has shrunk by approximately 50 percent, and HVT has increased by 50 percent. And the middle is virtually the same.

So, one of my goals is to bring back to the HIT fold, many of those previous HITTERS, who drifted to the other side."


One of the issues that may have arisen with the decline in HIT by 50% was the decline in "pure" Nautilus "Studios" that were prevelant during the early 1980's. I learned HIT from Frank McKinney at Strength Unlimted in Roseville, CA. I remember if myself or any other client didn't work to failure, or perform the lifts correctly, Frank was on you like a bad rash.


I think as Nautilus only gyms started to fade, so did the prevelance of HIT. California's 24 Hour Nautlius became 24 Hour Fitness (for example), and with that decline in gyms that practiced HIT the principles of HIT got lost.

Obviously HIT can be used with free weights, machines, etc. but as long as people were using the old blue Nautlius machines in a Nautilus studio, hopefully they were being trained correctly.

Just a thought.

Jon
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Empire Fitness

Hi Jeff and Craig,

Its John from the gym in Hinckley (Empire Fitness www.EmpireFitness.co.uk as it is now - it was John's Gym then) here, and just to let you both know, you are both the people you think you know you are!

Hi Craig, how are you, long time no speak, hope everything is well with you, Mark (Suffolk) is a regular over my place. It would be great to see you again. Are you into coaching now? Just a quick one Craig, did you ever get a copy of that article that Jeff said I wrote? 'The day Mr Nautilus got it wrong' I think was the title...?if I remember correctly it was set at a late night cafe (or motorway service station) about this guy Jeff used to know - or training with at Ben's -, who thought he knew every thing about Nautilus (according to Jeff any way) and how that guy got it wrong by over-training. To set the record straight, I did read it years ago, Jeff wrote it and showed it to me, he used to keep it in a folder he carried round with him, if I remember correctly. Who do you think Jeff was taking a Ďdigí at? To say I was annoyed that he has said I wrote it, was a bit of an understatement, in fact Iíd be annoyed if it was written about me....Keep me posted if you come across it. ..

And Jeff, I would love to read the book that you wrote 'problem solving' was it? Can I still get a copy? I know it was advertised in IART magazine. I would be most interest in your method of solving the aboveÖ.

Still with you Jeff, talking about super high intensity and training yourself, I have seen you train on many many workouts and would recommend any to watch you and make up their own mind as to how hard you train. I personally am not convinced that your two sets (or was it three?) are carried to the point of anything like near failure, your face pulling and heavy breathing is legendry excessive, but thatís my opinion. Did I read correctly you used to weight 210lbs (15 stone) and with a low % of body fat? Surly you jest? Thatís a big guy buy anybodyís standard, but perhaps you had lost a lot of it before you trained over at my place, theses things happen.

Any way best of luck Craig hope we speak soon.
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sector7

Hi John!

Thanks for letting me know I am the person I think we are - it was getting a bit surreal back there!

I appreciate your candour.

I think the Internet is a marvellous thing, but it has helped spurn a lot of misinformation. For anyone who seriously wants to learn about HIT, there's a lot of chaff to sort through to get to the wheat. It's easy to build a reputation and be perceived as an expert even when in reality that is the furthest thing from the truth. Who's to know?

I didn't manage to get hold of that now infamous article. Knowing you, and knowing of your enthusiasm for HIT and Nautilus, I didn't believe for one minute that you would write such a thing.

Thanks for setting the record straight, John.

Craig
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Jeff60

John,
Thanks for attempting to set the record straight. We all have our own opinions and thats good. I believe I train hard. Any faces I pull are not faked. If you witnessed me training and think/thought otherwise that is your opinion. I simply disagree.

I do know how much I weigh. If I puff and pant when I train it's because I'm too fat. Please read my previous 2 posts about my bodyfat. I'm not in condition. I've clearly said that.

I also have a condition called nasal polyps which prevents me from breathing as well as I might like and may be why I pant so much. I've had this since I was 13 but never realised anyone cared or bothered about how I breathe until your post.

As you are fully aware I usually train when the gym is virtually empty so I'm not trying to impress anyone... just, in my own way, trying to train hard. Maybe it's because I'm not training as hard as I think that I'm not making the progress I want. Please, again, see my previous post, where I've clearly stated that.

When I trained with Craig (BTW nearly 20 years ago - I thought I was in better condition but, and I'm not sure you knew me then, obviously not).

I have already apologised directly to you for thinking you wrote the infamous article. I do it again in public now. I'm sorry I angered you. I didn't realise how much I upset you or how much you dislke me. It was just a genuine mistake. I also re-iterate in public that I have no recollection of writing a piece with that title. Please note, however that I certainly do not carry my work around with me in a folder.

I did write an article that was never published about people who get blindly involved with theories that was based on people I trained at Ben's with. There were at least 4 of us training there at one time. My article delved into the opinion that people often can't see the wood for the trees. It looks like I'm guily of that too.

John, again. I apologise. I think you have a wonderful facility, very well equipped and maintained. I was hoping to visit in Nov but I realise now that I'm not welcome. It's a shame but I did enjoy my time training there even if you did not like the way I used your facilities.

Craig. I have no recollection of you converting me from volume training. I first read about Mentzer in the late 70's and tried that type of training then. Over time I increased volume and used far too many forced reps etc, which I have already said on other websites, but my recollection is that I trained with you after me and MS went our separate ways - i.e. I was already using a HIT approach and had been for some time. Again, we all have our different views.

I don't want to squabble or argue with anyone. This website is not the place for it. I have never set myself up as an 'expert'. I am not a personal trainer, I never offer training advice and I have only responded to a question on this thread with a rationale of why I do something based on my own experiences.

My book, which you can still obtain, is about problem solving methods (a subject I have been thoroughly trained in) and how you can apply them to bodybuilding. It is not about training methods.

Jeff
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Empire Fitness

Jeff,

The start of the thread was about, Trainees Who Kid Themselves, face pulling etc. So I stated my opinion. I too do not wish to be drawn into any discussion about personalities. I just think itís a bit Ďrumí of you to make a comment. Just because I have an opinion on your training does in no way imply I have any personally clash with you, I am disappointed that you feel this way about me.

I had to comment about the simple fact that you tried to blame me (via IART etc) for an article I never wrote, which was about your ex training buddy who you said had got it wrong and you wanted to make a dig at. As far as I am concerned I donít give a monkeys what you say about any one at any time, thatís your concern, but donít try and Ďforgetí and say it was me.

Before I made my on and only Ďpostingí it was with trepidation as to the excessive sensitivity of parties referred too and for this reason I was recommended not to make the posting, and you have not let me down. I appreciate your telephone call this morning from Australia but there is no need to apologise. As I see it, your tried to drop me in it, and I found out. But thatís the end of it all. As I have told you before I can get myself into trouble, I donít need you to do it for me.

I stand by want I said with regard to your excessive breathing, if its your nasal polyps then OK, thatís why I say for people to judge you by watching you workout. Let the onlooker decide.

Where on earth did you get the idea you were not welcome to workout at my place from? Of course you are welcome to work out any time you like, and will continue to be. If you drew any personal comment to the contra I suggest you read my posting again. Have you got so sensitive that you can not take a pieces of constructive criticism, or cannot listen to my opinion?

Can we all use this valuable tool that Dr Darden has provided for us to use as a tool furthering our information, knowledge and share experiences rather than personal pathetic back bighting comments? And to bring us all back on to the initial thread line, yes there are many -face pullers - and trainers who kid themselves on how hard they train, and I am one of them, before any one says it! LOL (esp you Bid)

John



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Empire Fitness

Jeff,

The start of the thread was about, Trainees Who Kid Themselves, face pulling etc. So I stated my opinion. I too do not wish to be drawn into any discussion about personalities. I just think itís a bit Ďrumí of you to make a comment. Just because I have an opinion on your training does in no way imply I have any personally clash with you, I am disappointed that you feel this way about me.

I had to comment about the simple fact that you tried to blame me (via IART etc) for an article I never wrote, which was about your ex training buddy who you said had got it wrong and you wanted to make a dig at. As far as I am concerned I donít give a monkeys what you say about any one at any time, thatís your concern, but donít try and Ďforgetí and say it was me.

Before I made my on and only Ďpostingí it was with trepidation as to the excessive sensitivity of parties referred too and for this reason I was recommended not to make the posting, and you have not let me down. I appreciate your telephone call this morning from Australia but there is no need to apologise. As I see it, your tried to drop me in it, and I found out. But thatís the end of it all. As I have told you before I can get myself into trouble, I donít need you to do it for me.

I stand by want I said with regard to your excessive breathing, if its your nasal polyps then OK, thatís why I say for people to judge you by watching you workout. Let the onlooker decide.

Where on earth did you get the idea you were not welcome to workout at my place from? Of course you are welcome to work out any time you like, and will continue to be. If you drew any personal comment to the contra I suggest you read my posting again. Have you got so sensitive that you can not take a pieces of constructive criticism, or cannot listen to my opinion?

Can we all use this valuable tool that Dr Darden has provided for us to use as a tool furthering our information, knowledge and share experiences rather than personal pathetic back bighting comments? And to bring us all back on to the initial thread line, yes there are many -face pullers - and trainers who kid themselves on how hard they train, and I am one of them (before you say anyhitng Bid)

John


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Jeff60

Thanks John,
Lets hope I'm not too sensitive. Your opinion is valued.

See you in Nov (ish)
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Empire Fitness

Hey Ellington,

John, as if Iíd take advantage of such an easy target!!!Iíd also like to say hi to Jeff, Craig and Big Mark. Iím James, one of Johnís Instructors at Empire Fitness in the UK. I wanted to address a couple of issues fundamental to this discussion.

Point number one, progression. How long do you stick with something that doesnít work for you? As Arthur Jones as said many times, whenever he reduced the volume of his workout he made more progress i.e. improved his results. Iíve noticed the same thing, however I didnít begin the ďexperimentĒ using 8 exercises for 4 sets each, 3 times per week. I started with a classic Nautilus routine 8-10 exercises, 2-3 times per week. For a while, all was good. After that? I got nowhere for months!! So, remembering Arthurís words, I reduced the volume and frequency of my workout. Guess what? It worked!! Every time progress comes to a holt I do the same again. Whenever you get bigger/stronger/more intense you must compensate for the increased demand. Basic HIT theory. Whatís wrong with training once every ten days, performing 2-3 sets if it means progress is made. NOTHING!! Donít feel that you have to workout 3 times per week, performing 8-10 sets and not improving becauseÖ.. you donít!! Tough to understand if are lucky enough to have the genetics to keep making progress on such a schedule. Success reinforces superstition. If you do well on the old Nautilus routines, youíll be convinced itís the only way, just like the successful HVTers. Ultra brief and infrequent workouts are a natural progression for the less gifted and more advanced trainer. A note here Ė some people just donít tolerate exercise well at all. Give them a break!! Let them know itís ok to train even less, even more infrequently and finally get rewarded for the effort!

Point number two, intensity. Iíve seen more than a few fakers!! Iíve worked in a commercial facility for 7+ years and supervised literally 1000ís of workouts. THOUSANDS!! Some people however train immensely hard and as a spectator you wouldnít even know it. Sometimes only the subjects themselves know if they could have tried harder. Itís unfair to tell someone ďYou donít train hard enough!Ē, without full knowledge of the facts. Itís the biggest personal insult you can throw at a true blue HITer! You can train to failure every time you set foot in the gym but, without proper recovery (overcompensation) your efforts with be in vain. Again basic HIT theory and more importantly basic logical thinking. Letís get past the petty bickering and small mindedness. Jeff, hope allís well in Oz, come and see us in November.

James (Bid)
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hit4all

Sweden

James

I just wanted to say: WELL SPOKEN!

Keep up the good work!

Be well, train hard & think smart!
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Charles Coulter

New York, USA

"It?s the biggest personal insult you can throw at a true blue HITer!"

Getting someone "*issed off" is just another way of getting that little extra from any one set. Not a technique to use with everyone, but one that can be used effectively.

In Casey Viator's book, he mentions how "Arthur really knew how to *iss him off", to get that extra effort.
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Empire Fitness

Charles,

You're right. Nothing wrong with throwing in a few "motivational insults" to get more intense effort from a worthless, fat, weak, lazy M.F!
That wasn't my point: don't throw personal insults a someone in comfort of a faceless internet forum. It's like dumping your girlfriend by phone, no worse, text message. It's a touch, well......cowardly!!
If you're ever in the U.K. give me a call and I'll be happy to insult you as much as you want!

James
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Empire Fitness

Charles,

You're right. Nothing wrong with throwing in a few "motivational insults" to get more intense effort from a worthless, fat, weak, lazy M.F!
That wasn't my point: don't throw personal insults a someone in comfort of a faceless internet forum. It's like dumping your girlfriend by phone, no worse, text message. It's a touch, well......cowardly!!
If you're ever in the U.K. give me a call and I'll be happy to insult you as much as you want!

James
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Jeff60

James,
See you in Nov. Thanks. Oz is getting pretty hot right now.

Jeff
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Widsith

Wisconsin, USA

I thought I trained hard and to failure, but I train alone most of the time, so there is no one there to push me. I may be kidding myself.

Does anyone know where one can look to find personal trainers who are HIT devotees? I belong to two gyms, one is more of a powerlifting gym, so the trainer there would tell me to do 5X5 or 6X3 or something of that nature. The other one is more of a large gym. There are about 15 trainers, and so far I have not seen one I was impressed with. Most of their clients are middle aged people trying to lose some weight, so the advice is the same, 30 minutes of cardio followed by 3 sets on the circuit equipment. I would love to find an HIT advocate in the Wisconsin area.
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dra


Point number one, progression. How long do you stick with something that doesn?t work for you? As Arthur Jones as said many times, whenever he reduced the volume of his workout he made more progress i.e. improved his results. I?ve noticed the same thing, however I didn?t begin the ?experiment? using 8 exercises for 4 sets each, 3 times per week. I started with a classic Nautilus routine 8-10 exercises, 2-3 times per week. For a while, all was good. After that? I got nowhere for months!! So, remembering Arthur?s words, I reduced the volume and frequency of my workout. Guess what? It worked!! Every time progress comes to a holt I do the same again.


Hi guys, I might be a bit late to the party, but I thought I'd chime in around now. Hope you don't mind... :-)

I was in much the same predicament with my training as stated in the above quote, or more precisely, with the training of a few bodyparts (they just wouldn't make progress...)

At much the same time, over the past six months I have in some cases added almost 50% more strength to some of my exercises with some very visible improvements (and I have been training in one form or another for 13 years...)

At first, I took the same approach as described above, I tried less volume and more infrequent workouts.

That didn't work. A lot of people try HIT, find it works for a month or two, progress then levels off and then quit. This is a fact which we cannot ignore.

I was getting prepared to accept the fact that I might have reached the "upper limit" of my potential for development in certain bodyparts.

The problem - and the apparent solution - as it turned out for me was a result of determing my "fiber types" or my "neurological efficiency" for these bodyparts.

I believe it is chapter 17 in Athur's book "My First Half-Century In The Iron Game" where he states that he used to blame people's lack of progress with HIT on their inability to train hard enough.

He then it admits this was not always the case - he makes the point that there are certain individual differences which they were not aware at the time which may have accounted for the lack of progress.

It was then his investigation into the fiber types that gave him some additional insight to these differences.

Using that information, I applied it to my own training. I performed a 1rm test for my "troubled" bodyparts and made some startling discoveries. I was very strong with most of them.

In some cases, I was using as little at %50 of my 1rm for reps - and I wasn't making any progress.

It turns out, I *might* have a higher than average distribution of F/T fibers in my thighs, biceps and lats.

Referring back to Arthur's book, he notes that high rep training for these type of fibers can be absolutely devestating - the muscle/system simply cannot recover quickly.

Of course, everyone recommends trying high rep training for the thighs ... so guess what I was trying?

Since then (about 3 weeks ago), I have started training with less reps (in another words, a lower time under load) and I have already made some startling improvements. I have gained 1.5 kg in bodyweight and my trousers are tighter around my thighs ... All this with no change in diet!

Perhaps it is too early to tell if this is indeed the solution. All I know is that reducing my training from twice per week to once per week yielded NO additional results and actually resulted in a loss of strength for some bodyparts.

I have the training logs to prove it!

Anyway, I thought I would add this information to the board. It might be useful to some people.

Regards,

Daniel
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