31 Working Out According to Your Genetics with Ryan Hall



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Joining The InForm Fitness Podcast is Exercise Physiologist and Certified Master Trainer, Ryan A. Hall.  Ryan has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Ryan’s Exercise and Genetic Variability Lecture formed the basis of Chapter 8The Genetic Factor in Body By Science by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little. He also contributed to Chapter 3: The Dose/Response Relationship of Exercise.

 

This is part one of a two-part series titled: Working Out According to Your Genetics.  For more information regarding Ryan A. Hall please visit http://exercisesciencellc.com

 

 

Ryan: So our number one goal with resistance training is to have that person get smarter, and that’s our objective measurement for improvement. Over time, as that load increases and that

absolute intensity increases, it’s going to effect them, eventually metabolically, but our main goal is to get them stronger and to add muscle.

 

Tim: This is episode 31 of the InForm Fitness Podcast. Twenty minutes with New York Times bestselling author, Adam Zickerman. I’m Tim Edwards with the Inbound Podcasting Network and a client of InForm Fitness at the Toluca Lake location, which is co-owned by our very own Sheila Melody who will be with us shortly. Also joining us as always is Mike Rogers, the general manager of the Manhattan location of InForm Fitness. Alright so we’re about to kick off a two part series talking about genetics. Now hold on, for those of you who might be scientifically challenged like me, don’t think that this information is going to sail right over your head,

because joining us is exercise physiologist and certified master trainer, Ryan A. Hall. Ryan does a terrific job of explaining how our individual genetic makeup effects the results from our high intensity strength training. Are you oxidative or glycolytic? Have no idea what that means?

Neither did I until Ryan explained it. I guarantee as a listener to this podcast, I know that you’re going to find this information not only entertaining, but very helpful. Ryan has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. As a matter of fact, he contributed to chapters three and eight in Dr. Doug McGuff’s book, Body By Science, which is an absolute staple for this

protocol. Oh, and one final note before we begin. For those of you who participated in our month long contest to receive Adam’s autograph inside his New York Times bestselling book, Power of Ten: The Slow Motion Revolution, and to receive InForm Fitness apparel, and an Amazon Echo. We will announce our winner at the end of the episode. In the meantime, let’s talk genetics with Mike Rogers, Sheila Melody, Adam Zickerman, and our guest for the next two episodes, Ryan Hall.

 

Adam: Ryan you and I go back a while now. We’ve been in this game — you said you started this at eighteen years old, correct?

 

Ryan: Yeah, it was like 1989 when I started.

 

Adam: How old are you now?

 

Ryan: 45, I’m old.

 

Sheila: He’s a baby.

 

Adam: 25 years, 26 years of doing this?

 

Ryan: Yeah, long time man, long time.

 

Adam: How many sessions have you overseen in these 25 years, would you estimate?

 

Ryan: At one time, at One to One, I was training between 100 and 120 sessions a week. I mean sometimes I’ve trained a lot less, but I averaged it out to maybe about 80 training sessions a week. I gave myself a margin of error to say maybe 75 a week. So I multiplied that out by about 50 weeks a year and I’m clocking in at around 100,000 sessions.

 

Adam: So I guess that means — I’ve been doing this for 20 years so I’m probably just about 20,000 less than you.

 

Ryan: Yeah, I’d say probably around that.

 

Adam: Mike is averaging that amount of sessions per week now, 90-100 a week now, and he’s been doing this like 12 years.

 

Mike: 15.

 

Adam: 15 years, excuse me. So between the three of us alone, we’ve got quite a number of

sessions under our belt. So Ryan, like me, you’re an exercise geek. Isn’t it true for fun that you dig around for relevant and quality research studies? Just for fun?

 

Ryan: All the time. I mean I pretty much keep my nose in the research literature every day.

 

Adam: You have a couple of college degrees, correct? What are they?

 

Ryan: So both my undergraduate and graduate degrees are in exercise physiology. I had gotten accepted —- before I opened One to One, I had gotten accepted into the PhD program in Baton Rouge, LSU for exercise phys, but I decided to open a business instead. So I said I’m not going to continue getting myself into debt, and that’s when we opened One to One in 1996, but my

education didn’t stop when I stopped going to school. Now it just gave me the freedom to

research and read exactly what I wanted, so I didn’t have to follow any syllabus or anything like that. I learned most of what I learned, Adam, honestly, by doing experimentations on my own clientele and actually writing my own research papers. That way I could target into directly what I wanted to study.

 

Adam: So between all of the 100,000 sessions that you’ve overseen, not to mention your

background in exercise physiology and all the research you’ve been doing and all the digging your nose into all the current research. You’ve discovered — you’ve noticed a couple of things I would say, and today’s discussion is really about genetics. So what have you discovered

regarding genetics and peoples’ response to exercise, generally speaking right now?

 

Ryan: First of all, genetics are extremely, extremely powerful. I think the last estimate I read, it was about 60% of all of your results from exercise are pretty much genetically predetermined or at least limited. So by looking at my own clientele that I’ve done, and my trainers, and the

research literature, there’s a huge amount of inter-individual variability, between results from

exercise. So there’s people, very few, these are really far outliers, that gain, let’s say, a lot of muscle mass from normal — I shouldn’t say normal research protocols, but higher volumes of resistance training. Like three days per week, multiple sets. There’s only a few people who

actually adapt really, really well to that, and also there’s people who lose muscle mass and strength on such programs. Depending upon the stimulus that we initiate, we can observe or make some observations on how those clients respond. Depending on those observations or how I’m going to structure their routine going forward, but the thing is, as that client continues to adapt, the stimulus is going to have to be changed a little bit more to fit their new adaptation

levels. So that’s what I’ve been doing a lot of work on lately.

 

Tim: Ryan, how do you know when a client has adapted? Is it a plateau? How would you define adaptation?

 

Ryan: In science, we usually want to have an objective measurement of improvement. For me, our one objective of improvement certainly are consistent strength gains. So that’s the first

adaptation that I’m looking at that we can measure from work out to work out, so that’s what I’m mostly looking for. As they continue to adapt and they continue to get stronger, they may, for

example, hit a plateau at some point in time. The thing is is you need to figure out what you need to do to get past that plateau. So when I was in grad school, I conducted a study and there is a link on my website, it’s an article, it’s called exercise results curve. By this time, I had already trained several hundred people — well a few hundred people I should say, a handful, and some of these for multiple years. What I started to do, I had to do a project for one of my exercise phys classes, and what I did was look at all the neat data that I had on the workout charts. I started

entering everything into Microsoft Excel with the statistics package, and trying to analyze the data. What I really wanted to see is if we successfully manipulated stimulus and recovery, how long did it approximate these individuals to come close to their genetic potential. There was something — there was an anomaly in the data that I wasn’t necessarily expecting right away. The anomaly that appeared in the data was that the people that I started training twice per week made results faster, but they hit an artificial plateau much, much sooner. It was almost a hundred percent, it was 97% of my subject population. When I reduced the frequency of training from twice a week, to once every five days or once a week, there was almost an immediate

improvement in strength, where they continued gaining strength. Again, I said this is 97% of my subject population, so there was a small percentage of people who did not do better changing from once a week. They didn’t necessarily do any worse, but they didn’t do any better, but most people did and that was the number one aspect that stood out in my mind, as most significant.

 

Adam: That’s 97%. So you’d say for the most part, on the bell curve, most people do well with a once a week workout, working out one set to failure, in general, right? Is that what you find with your population of clients over the year?

 

Ryan: Adam, I would say so with my subject population now. I’m real specific to say that,

because we have selection bias in just about everything, and I don’t even know if we can have a true, random sample in exercise research.

 

Adam: Why don’t you explain first what selection, or survivorship bias it’s also known as,

explain that a little bit. What is selection bias?

 

Ryan: Sure, that’s a great question too. Naturally we gravitate towards things that we do well at. If we don’t do well at something, we’re probably not going to continue with it or at least not try. So I mean it can be any type of sport, any type of activity. It can be like, if I don’t do well at playing chess, I’m probably not going to be very competitive, and I’m probably not going to

continue playing chess. If I’m not large enough to be a football lineman, I’m simply never going to get selected to be a football lineman. So there’s some genetic dictation with that also. The

latest statistics that I looked at is that maybe about, I think it was 10% of the U.S. population, actually participates in strength training. In order to even want to participate in strength training, that’s something that you have to be interested in. I’m not going to say everybody has to do that very well, but you have to be interested in that. Now there’s guys that are genetic freaks that tend to just go to any gym and pick up weights and start throwing them around, and those people are far and few between, but they make great results. One of my tagline statements is that there are guys who just have great genetics. You could probably throw tomatoes at them and they could still kick big.

 

Adam: I use a similar — I say if somebody even looks at a barbell, they start getting bigger.

 

Ryan: Absolutely. They smell a gym and they get big, but otherwise — if you look at people that are going to seek out a trainer, we’re likely to get people with average to below average genetic potential because these are people who did not do well on their own. Even in the research

literature, it shows that those people who do well — there’s a positive skew and what that means is that there is a few individuals that do really, really well that throw off the average result. Some of these people do exceedingly well. Some of the research that I’ve looked at is that literally with a fairly short term resistance training program, it was relatively high volume, that there’s people — a few guys who gained up to a 60% increase in muscle mass, but there was only like two

people that did that. The rest of the people made average results, and some people even lost muscle muss and strength.

 

Adam: I agree with you. Again, both of us have a lot of experience with people and given the selection bias, and I agree with you. I think most people that think out our services are baby boomers in general, they’re affluent, and they are the average type. We’re not getting too many professional athletes in our gym because again like you said about selection bias. I think people who do really well with strength training naturally, they don’t need a trainer. They go, they smell a gym and they get bigger, and they move on. Why do they have to pay the money even if they can afford it. They’re doing fine all by themselves.

 

Ryan: Absolutely, 100% agreement.

 

Adam: So when we start training people, they do, I would say most of our clients, and we’ve been doing this for a long time. We have lots of clients and I would say that they are of average genetics. So let’s dig deeper into these genetics for a minute. One of the big determining factors of somebody seeing results or how they should train is based on their blend, if you will, of fast twitch versus slow twitch, and even the intermediate twitch muscle fibers. I would assume that if somebody possess a large amount of one or the other, or a blend of one or the other, their training protocol might vary accordingly. So before we get into that, why don’t you speak to, and explain to our listeners about what exactly is fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers, because there’s a lot of confusion around that.

 

Ryan: Okay. This is actually — it can be a difficult topic to discuss, it can be technical. So we don’t normally —

 

Adam: That’s why I asked you the question. I’d rather you answer that question than me.

 

Ryan: Let me think of how to describe this. It’s funny because I have visuals of this which are easier but this is audio format. The deal is that we can think of — we use the term twitch to

describe the motor neuron, the neuron which is in the spinal column, and all of the muscle fibers innervated by that neuron, that’s called a motor unit. The motor neuron is what twitches, so when we specifically start talking about fast twitch or slow twitch, or actually start talking about the motor neuron or the motor unit, the muscle fibers themselves are usually stained for enzymes and that’s why we normally use the term fast glycolytic or slow oxidative, or what’s called fast

oxidative glycolytic. Oxidative enzymes are going to really be more specific to endurance type training, or longer times under load. So they’re fatigue resistant. Think about — I love

automobile analogies, it makes a lot of sense. Think about the slow oxidative fibers as a Honda Civic, or one of those Fiat 500s. It’s a small engine, it doesn’t make a lot of horsepower, but it gets great gas mileage. Now think of those really large, fast glycolytic fibers. They’re very strength based, that’s more strength tissue, okay? So think about a Hemmy V8 in the quarter mile, running off of nitrous oxide. Makes a lot of power, ton of horsepower, but done in ten to twelve seconds or whatever the case. Boom, it’s out.

 

Adam: Runs out of gas quickly.

 

Ryan: Yeah. Now these classifications are convenient teaching tools for students, but a fiber can lie anywhere on that oxidative to glycolytic spectrum. Muscle has a high degree of adaptability, so depending on how it’s used, it can adapt and change its enzymatic properties, either oxidative or glycolytic, the way it’s being trained. However, there’s only so much adaptation that can occur through normal exercise, a normal exercise stimulus. So where you are born on that oxidative, glycolytic spectrum in that muscle is how it’s going to generally perform best. So glycolytic, fast glycolytic, those are strength based fibers and everyone is going to have — some people may have a little more of that than others. If someone has a lot of oxidative fibers, than they’re going to be better at a longer time when they train, or more endurance based activities, not strength based. They’re going to get gas mileage but not put out a lot of horsepower. Here’s another

analogy that I use, Adam. Let’s say Tim is more oxidative and I’m more glycolytic. If we’re both sled dogs, if we’re pulling the same load, Tim could pull it farther than I could, but if the sled weighed a certain amount, he couldn’t pull it at all and I still could. Is that a nice analogy?

 

Tim: I do like it, especially since you made me go really far really fast.

 

Ryan: Exactly. Now most people are going to fit in the middle, so with most people, we don’t have to make severe adaptations in the training response. What I find most interesting to me, are the people, the individuals, that fall outside of that, or the outliers. So those are the people — I have a saying, you probably know this too. I love difficult cases because it makes me think a lot more and work a lot harder. I don’t necessarily like difficult people, but I do like the difficult cases because it really makes me work and use my brain a lot more, in order to get those subjects that are the outliers. That lie to the outside of the glycolytic and oxidative spectrum. Those are the people that make me think the hardest. I have to work harder to get those subjects optimal results from exercise, and that’s what I enjoy doing. I enjoy challenges.

 

Sheila: Is there a way that you can assess what a person is on that spectrum, or what their

tendency is towards?

 

Ryan: Absolutely, and there’s a way to do that, and Adam can probably tell you from his

experience also. We can do something called a one repetition maximum test. That’s the

maximum amount of weight that that individual can lift at one point in time. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of doing that because there’s a certain injury potential that comes with doing that, so I’ll only do this test with clients that have more experience. That are well trained, that have

relatively perfect form. There’s no slop in the form, there’s no jerking or heaving or anything like that. So you can do this one repetition maximum test, and then take a percentage, generally 75-80% of that one repetition maximum, but you have to make sure that these clients are training with perfect form. If they’re not training with perfect form, then that pretty much kills the test. I like to pick exercises that are not as easy to cheat with. For example, something like the MedEx chest press, rather than a seated dip. If you’re doing a seated dip, people can rock back and forth.

 

Adam: Use body leverage, torque.

 

Ryan: Yeah body leverage and all of that, so I don’t like doing that test necessarily, but if you’re doing something like chest press or overheard press to kind of give you a little bit of idea of what the upper body does, and then I generally pick leg extension, just because again, that’s a little bit more difficult to cheat on. There’s less movement of the body that’s going to come into play, and you can do other exercises, but they’re more likely to cheat on those. Let’s say you use the MedEx bicep. They can lean back into it, arch their backs, stick their belly forward. They can try to cheat with it. Or if you’re doing lateral raises, it’s an independent movement arm, and they might not be doing full range or whatever the case may be. If you take this 80% on some specific exercises and you have that client go to failure, again in perfect form, you’re going to see a

variety of responses within individuals. People that have more strength based fiber, or more

glycolytic fibers, fast glycolytic, are going to lift a heavier load, but they’re going to get less

repetitions and be on the machine for a lower time. On the other hand, people with oxidative fibers, the more endurance based tissue, they don’t have enough of those strength based fibers to lift a very heavy load, but they can go for a very long period of time. So those people are the

outliers again, so they’re more difficult to get results with, but they’re more interesting, in my opinion at least, to work with, because it requires some more thought processes and some more skill for the trainer, in order to get those particular clients great results from exercise.

 

Adam: So let’s use an example for a second just to make sure that it’s clear for everybody

listening. So a one repetition max, meaning the most you can lift in one repetition. So let’s say the most a person can lift on a leg extension machine for one repetition is a hundred pounds. So what you do is you take 75% of that number, so 75 pounds, you start putting them through a set at 75 pounds, and you’re doing it in perfect form so let’s say a slow protocol like ten seconds up, ten seconds down, with nice turnarounds, not jabbing at it. Not resting at the bottom turnaround or anything like that, and they end up lasting, let’s say, sixty seconds until failure, versus

somebody else that can also do a hundred pound repetition max, and they do 75 pounds, and they end up lasting for let’s say three minutes. So you’d be able to say, alright, the person that lasts three minutes is more of the slow twitch, oxidative muscle fiber type, whereas the person that lasted only 60 seconds is more of the fast twitch, glycolytic type. True?

 

Ryan: Absolutely.

 

Adam: So here we are, we got that straight. So now, how do you train each person? So you

discovered that this person is glycolytic, fast twitch muscle type, and then you have another

person here who is definitely the endurance type. How do you design the protocol accordingly?

 

Ryan: What I would is basically that time under load, that repetition scheme, is going to be what I’m going to use to train them. What I’ve found though in working with these subjects that sort of lie to the outliers is that fast glycolytic subjects, they tend to increase on resistance more rapidly. So you can jump the weight at a faster pace, where what we’re looking at with the slow oxidative subjects, they increase on time much better. So one of the things you’ll see with

oxidative subjects, when you try to increase the weight significantly, it drops their time way down. That’s an observation that you can actually make without even doing the 75% of 80% of one rep max test, is that you’ll see those subjects wind up on improving in time. So let’s say I have someone that needs to be on three minutes or over three minutes. If I go up a little bit on weight, let’s say two to four pounds, so I go up a hundred to a hundred and four, that time under load is going to be knocked down. They may be two minutes and 20 seconds, or somewhere around there.

 

Adam: In some cases, I’ve found that even if you increase with four pounds, they can’t lift it at all and I’m like, come on. You get mad at them because you think they’re totally faking it, but it’s not true.

 

Mike: I think we don’t do the one rep max test, and I think we find our answer, or we get close to our answer, within just a trend after a few sessions. You see how they adapt over a little increase or a lot increase, and you can see — I think the answer to the question is that a real assessment takes a handful of sessions, or maybe a little bit more even sometimes.

 

Ryan: Honestly that’s the way I prefer to do it, that’s the way we normally do it. There’s some things that you can watch for, there are some responses that you can watch for. Usually you’ll see oxidative subjects, they don’t get very winded or make a very, very intense cardiovascular

response, metabolic response, from the training stimulus. It’s not quite as high. I’ve done things like measure heart rate, and they just don’t get all that high unless you’re doing some really large exercises for time under load, like we have that squat machine Adam that you know of, or

something like leg press, right?

 

Adam: The one you always put me on? Yeah.

 

Ryan: Right. Where the fast twitch, glycolytic, more strength based subjects is that their

metabolic responses, their heart rate, their heart is pounding out of their chest with a short time under load, so yeah.

 

Mike: It’s a good point because you observe a lot of different people in the gym, we have several trainers in there, and people are constantly judging, like hey, is that person working hard? We know that — I know that that person is going to muscle failure but a little bit differently. They display it — some people are very, very visually in an intention situation whereas other people, they’re going to muscle failure or it doesn’t visually or audibly look like a very intense situation, but we know that they are.

 

Adam: So let’s get back to that. Let’s continue to talk about this oxidative person who after they go to failure, they don’t even seem like they had any experience at all, and yet we know that they went to muscle failure. So how are you training this person? You’re just kind of keeping the weight the same for a while and letting them keep increasing in time until they reach failure. So let’s say you’re using that 75 pounds and they last three minutes, and then you do it again at 75 pounds the next time they come in, and they last three minutes and ten seconds or fifteen

seconds, and you do it again, not changing the weight, and they start to maybe even get towards four minuets. Then you finally maybe raise the weight to 78 pounds, and then you see all of a sudden, their time drops back down to two minutes or something. So you keep it there for a while until they get back up to four minutes. Would you say that would be a good approach to somebody like that?

 

Ryan: That’s exactly what we do Adam, totally. As a matter of fact — sometimes like you said, it takes a handful of sessions to sort of figure this out. Sometimes you can almost figure it out in the first session. There was this woman, her name is Mary Lee, and she trained at another high intensity training facility in the uptown New Orleans area. That’s what — it actually turned out that way, she was not being trained nearly as intense as we train people. The first time she came in, I put her on the MedEx Row, and I’m figuring okay, she’s been doing this for several years now. She should at least be able to handle like maybe 140 pounds. So I put her at 140 pounds and she couldn’t budge it. So 140 pounds was not even her one repetition maximum. I put her on 120 pounds and she stayed on for over four minutes. So that is a definite example of someone who is extremely oxidative, extremely enduring. So let’s say that you could guess that her one rep max might be 130 pounds, whatever the case may be. So her ideal training protocol was to keep her on until she was over four minutes, and then bump the weight up. What you found is that when you bumped the weight up even a little bit, her time under loads came way back down, but just like you said, they improve on time. Sometimes they’ll improve, I don’t know, 40 seconds or a minute at a time sometimes. It’s a big difference.

 

Adam: Then on the other side of the spectrum, you have these people that are the glycolytic, fast twitch muscle fiber types. You pick a weight and they last a minute to failure. Like you said, they’re breathing like a freight train, their heart is pounding out of their chest, and then the next time, you raise the weight 10, 15, 20 pounds, and they still last 60 seconds. They don’t drop in time but you can keep increasing the weight. They’re always metabolically devastated.

 

Ryan: Absolutely. I’ve also found, and you’ve probably noticed the same thing, that over time, because those people are having these extremely deep, metabolic responses, those are the people that we have to sort of reduce the number of exercises, so the total — because their intensity winds up being so high, they can’t do as many exercises and they can’t do it as long. We had one real outlier with that. One of my trainers Shelley is training this girl Lisa, and Lisa is in her early thirties and she’s going to be getting married pretty soon. I’m really sorry to hear for that man — she’s a nice lady but anyway.

 

Adam: You better hope Shelley isn’t listening to this episode.

 

Ryan: She’s extremely — she’s so far on the glycolytic spectrum, that her first workout, she worked so hard that she literally went to vomit after four exercises. She didn’t vomit on the

second, and then she didn’t on the third and I told Shelley, look. For this girl, she doesn’t stay on the machine any more than a minute, that’s it. One minute, boom, four exercises. Well she doesn’t have the problem with the nausea anymore, but her resistance has increased rapidly, and she’s only made a few alterations to her diet. Really just by increasing the protein content and reducing carbohydrates, and she dropped twelve pounds in a relatively short period of time. It’s unbelievable how quickly she responded to it, but if we tried to train her the other way, for more time under load, literally her metabolism just couldn’t handle it. She doesn’t adapt well to

endurance training at all, but she’s literally a high intensity super star.

 

Adam: It’s astounding how much variation exists between people, and how — like Mike said, some people would be observing other people working out and say, that person is not even breathing hard, are they even working out hard, and vice versa. They look at the person after three exercises, crawling on a floor out of breath and they think, they’re just faking it.

 

Mike: Or they judge themselves and think, I thought I was working hard, obviously I’m not working that hard, and what’s amazing is that some people can literally come in here, every

session is slotted for thirty minutes, and they can be out in eight minutes.

 

Adam: Right, that would be the glycolytic side. I have a question for you now that comes to mind. When you have that oxidative person, that you do nine exercises with them and at the end, they look like they didn’t do anything, they just got out of bed. They’re fresh as a daisy. Is it your goal as a trainer to somehow push their energy systems to a point where they do pant and get their heart rate up? Are you trying to do that, or do you just accept the fact that they’re never

going to get to that point, but they’re still going to be gaining muscle. Whether they’re oxidative or glycolytic, whether they’re somebody that has slow twitch muscle fibers and endurance type fibers or glycolytic, isn’t the goal to ultimately build muscle for that person? Do you have to get them to that point of exhaustion where they’re panting to help them build that muscle, or do you accept the fact that they’re never going to be breathing like a freight train, but they’re still going to get stronger.

 

Ryan: Our number one goal with resistance training is to have that person get stronger. That’s our objective measurement of improvement, and over time as that load increases and that absolute intensity increases, it’s going to effect them eventually metabolically. Our main goal is to get them stronger and to add muscle. Now it depends on what the client’s goal is. For example,

recently I had this lady Leslie, I’ve been training her for a number of years, and her and her

husband, they went on a biking trip in Europe. So she wanted to increase her cardiorespiratory a little more, and for those people that that is their goal, we will offer the high intensity interval training on a cycle [Unintelligible: 00:36:20] so it really depends upon what their goals are. The long term, just for people that want to function in their day to day, every day life, I don’t

necessarily think that’s necessary, but again, it all depends on what their goals are. If you can get that person stronger, that oxidative subject stronger, that’s all that really matters. Now let me take a step back one — we often use the term intensity, and I wrote this a long time ago in that I use three different types of intensity to define intensity. If you look in the research literature, they’re going to define intensity as a percentage of the one repetition maximum. So that’s what they use in the research, and I call that just intensity of load, meaning for them, doing 80% of a one rep max is higher than doing 50% of a one rep max. That’s not the type of intensity that you and I think of. You and I think of intensity as the degree of momentary effort, and I called it either

relative intensity or intensity of effort. Then there’s another intensity, and I don’t think a lot of people look at this, which I call absolute intensity. What I mean by absolute intensity is the total stress that the body can tolerate at one time, or at least over time. So let’s say you have any

subject, let’s say they start out and come in really weak. I’m sure you’ve seen people like this. Let’s say they start out with the chest press and literally, they can only do 30 pounds before they reach failure on chest press. You and I have probably both had people who have never exercised in their entire life, but you train that person over a certain amount of time, and they literally over triple their strength. They’re doing more than 96 pounds, a hundred. Their absolute intensity has effectively tripled, so the total stress that their body is tolerating at that point in time has really gone up, and I think what we want to see — when we say we want to see someone stronger, we want to see their absolute intensity increase. When we increase their absolute intensity, if they’re doing much more of a workload for that specific time that they’re working, then eventually it is going to have a pretty big effect on their metabolism. On their metabolic system, on their

cardiovascular system. So for everyone, as they get stronger, they’re going to be increasing that absolute intensity.

 

Adam: Do you recommend doing intervals for people that you notice are primarily a slow twitch, muscle fiber type versus the strength training? Do you feel mixing that in is helpful to get their heart rate up and to push their metabolism?

 

Ryan: Again, it all depends on what that person wants. There are some people that just don’t want to do that. New Orleans is an interesting place as you know, and our number one activity is probably drinking alcohol. For most people that live here, that’s no joke. Pretty much can’t do anything in the city unless it involves alcohol.

 

Adam: And food. And music.

 

Ryan: Totally. So selling what we do actually sells pretty well because many people don’t want to do more than thirty minutes one day a week. Now if that is part of their goal and they want to really increase that, yeah, that’s an additional service that we offer, but again, that person might not want to pay for their service. They might not want to pay for it, they may not be interested. They might not be able to afford it, they might not want to come back a second time a week to do that or even not have enough time to dedicate to it at that training session, or whatever the case may be. So I have found that for oxidative subjects, incorporating intervals, depending upon their goal, it does help them. I’ve had some clients tell me — again, a very small handful — this is what I felt like I’d been missing, by just doing the resistance training. Even though they’ve

gotten stronger, some people want to feel that type of push and some people don’t. Again, we always go back to the individual client and what their goals are.

 

Mike: Here’s an observation. We have clients who, if they do the MedEx chest press, and they do it to muscle failure but it doesn’t display — like they don’t feel like they got that cardiovascular push, and then I’ll have them do, on that same day, later in the session or in a different session, slow pushups. Like five seconds down, very, very slowly and five seconds up, and when they go to muscle failure in that exercise, which obviously is not just a chest exercise, they are much more metabolically challenged and actually feel that there is — like their heart really was

working, and that the intensity that they saw somebody else do on a machine, they actually did when they held a plank, did some wall squats, or a body weight exercise versus a machine. Based on that observation and pushing the — what do you say about that, in regards to what’s going on with the body right there?

 

Ryan: I’d say I’d have the same observation as you, exactly, totally. Those people can not only tolerate a longer time under load, but can usually do more exercises in the workout. I mentioned before some of the early work that Arthur Jones did before he started MedEx. The stuff was

never made available to the public. He was doing some testing with [Unintelligible: 00:42:37] isokinetic devices, and he saw —

 

Mike: Everybody got that?

 

Tim: For those listening to the podcast, hit the 15 second button to go back 15 seconds to learn that.

 

Adam: Ryan, do me a favor real fast. Explain what an isokinetic machine is, because a lot of people don’t know what —

 

Mike: It’s all ball bearings these days.

 

Ryan: Exactly. What an isokinetic machine does — these were [Unintelligible: 00:43:05], so what they do is it limits movement at a specific speed. So you can literally try to lift as hard and as fast as you can, and you’re simply not going to be able to go any faster. What Jones was

doing, it was a [Unintelligible: 00:43:23] leg extension machine, which he limited to 25 degrees per second. A leg extension machine is basically about 110 seconds, I’m sorry, 110 degrees. So they were finishing each positive and negative stroke in a little over four seconds, so their reps were lasting about eight seconds. What he noticed was there was, again, a huge amount of

variability even when it’s same percentage, 75% of the one repetition maximum. Some people failed in as little as three repetitions, so that would be as little as 24 seconds, and other people — there was one subject that needed a total of 34 repetitions in order to fail. So that would be a much higher time under load. So what was cool about that was he wasn’t just observing this, he was actually testing it and documenting it. Later they started doing something similar with MedEx, where they used 50% of the static test, or the isometric test, which is basically as much force as you can exert without moving. That would be isometric. That was about the same as that dynamic test, with the movement test with the isokinetic. He noticed this large variability, so that would literally be exactly reflected in what we’re discussing here today. What he noticed though is that with those oxidative subjects, they don’t inroad or they don’t create — they create a very shallow fatigue, whereas glycolytic subjects create a very deep level of fatigue. So for someone who is oxidative, not only do they need to stay on the machine for more time, but they can

actually tolerate more exercise. So just like you were saying, that if you put another exercise in there or two, whether you’re doing pushups or if you want to do a pre-exhaust type protocol where let’s say we did leg curls, leg extension for legs, but then you put them on leg press

afterwards. Then you can really get that metabolic demand without doing any interval training.

 

Tim: That was part one of our two part interview with exercise physiologist and certified master trainer, Ryan Hall. We’ll continue our conversation in next week’s episode, and if you happen to be listening down in the Big Easy, hit Ryan up at Exercise Science LLC. Personal training and physical rehabilitation for New Orleans, Louisiana. Check out his website at

exercisesciencellc.com. For InForm Fitness locations across the U.S., check out

informfitness.com to find the location nearest you, and to pick up Adam’s book, visit Amazon, and then add Power of Ten: The Slow Motion Fitness Revolution to your shopping cart. In the book, Adam discusses the three pillars necessary to burn fat, build muscle, and reboot your

metabolism, as well as exercises that you can perform if you’re not near an InForm Fitness

location. Or how about a free copy of Adam’s book? Personally autographed by the guru himself, and perhaps an InForm Fitness hat, t-shirt, and hoodie jacket, and for good measure, how about an Amazon Echo, to listen to Amazon music, audiobooks in Audible, and even this podcast through the TuneIn app. Well if your name is Sandy Darry Hamberg, it’s all yours, courtesy of Adam Zickerman and the entire team at InForm Fitness. Congratulations Sandy, and thank you and all of InForm Nation for participating in our contest and for being a member of the InForm Fitness family. Look, we have a lot more fun stuff like that planned in the near future, so don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast in whatever platform you might be listening from. Until next time, for Sheila Melody, Mike Rogers, and Adam Zickerman of InForm Fitness, I’m Tim

Edwards with the InBound Podcasting Network

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