Old Methods + New Technology = Amazing Results!
Times are hard, but one has to admit this isn't is a boring time to be alive. More has changed in the past twelve months than many us thought possible. There have been challenges unnumbered and at every turn it seems that some new devilry has tried to break us. I don’t think it has. We’ve done a whole lot of bending, but we have not been broken.
Our efforts to continue to do what works are succeeding; we’re maintaining the strength in our communities in spite of forces trying to tear them apart, maintaining our good health in the face of a pandemic that is trying to destroy it and pushing our abilities to innovate faster than ever before to bring about a better tomorrow. That’s right, a better tomorrow. Not a tomorrow that looks just like our pre-pandemic state, but a better one. Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one more responsive to change.” That would be us!
In spite of the obstacles we’re facing, it’s been a rather exciting year for Breakthrough members. In addition to all the usual good stuff still happening in our adapted environment, members achieving new Personal Records, peaking performances at the end of programs, and even welcoming some amazing new members into the fold, we also have had a chance to implement new technologies that improve almost every aspect of the training experience. Anything that can help us get even more accurate with peaking strength performance, improving body composition, boosting endurance and promoting fat loss is a welcome addition to our toolbox.
So, why should I care about this?
Well... I’m a real enthusiast (nerd) when it comes to programming but that’s because I truly believe it is the literal roadmap to success in training. If you’re not on a program, then you’re training sessions are akin to playing around in the park; it might be fun, yes it’s better than sitting on the couch, but it isn’t actually taking you anywhere and it can even be dangerous. Being on a program is more like climbing up a mountain. You take a safe and efficient route, planned out for you personally by an expert who has already been up to the top, with just the right number of stops along the way.
To continue with the map analogy, there was once a time when we used to only have paper maps or guidebooks to help us navigate. Los Angeles residents, remember that "Thomas Guide” that you always kept under your front seat? There were no GPS enabled phones with apps to guide us in the moment back then. Up until recently, programming was still a lot like that; a very pen and paper experience. It still works, but an interactive programming tool with an ability track every rep and load, graph our progress visually and update on the fly, now that’s a powerful step forward.
Let’s get more specific and give a simple example of how helpful this can be. Most or our members seek to achieve a high proportion of lean muscle and low body fat percentages. One proven method to get this result is through "Hybrid Density Training." We know that prioritizing strength training is important for fat loss, so when we couple serious resistance training (strength) with an element of loaded cardio (metabolic conditioning) like kettlebell swings with a specific work and/or rest period, we're already most of the way there to achieving good results. Our members will recognize this formula immediately as a signature of ours; tough, but effective.
The more subtle "secret sauce" element is introduced when the density variable comes into play. This is when we use periodization over time to either incrementally reduce the overall time in which the same workload is being completed or increase the workload within the same timeframe. With technology capable of recording, graphing and projecting training volume (reps), intensity (loads) and time (well… time), we have a much better chance of staying on the direct path to success. The GPS can tell us immediately to make a U-turn if we’re going the wrong way. This density variable can be applied in a general "add sets, weight or reps over time" fashion if one isn't as concerned about peaking on demand (a more scenic route), or in a closely regimented method like a competitive powerlifter would use to peak on a specific day.
With realtime adaptive programming technology, we can make sure we’re building a body that can either do more work in the same amount of time, or the same amount of work in less time; a quality we sometimes refer to as "work capacity." When a body adapts to handle a higher work capacity, it becomes composed of less fat and more lean muscle. Results achieved!
Although this technology enables the coach to do a better job, it makes the athlete’s job easier too. Closer tracking of reps, sets and training time helps athletes avoid overtraining or underperforming in their sessions. The app we use even provides a little graph after each session to reveal a snapshot of a trainee’s rate of perceived exertion over the course of the program which can visually alert us to a concerning trend in one or the other direction.
It’s been very tough to think positive thoughts in recent months, but our current health crisis continues to drive many exciting innovations. We keep seeing that some tried and true methods that have worked in the past are still working, but only because we are finding new ways to implement and improve upon them. Armed with old proven methods and new systems to deliver them, I’m looking forward to the next surge; the surge of strong and healthy people achieving amazing results!