Contrary to popular belief coaches don’t get some sick and twisted pleasure out of telling someone they cant do something. Well some might. I don’t.
Most coaches are employed because they have a high level of experience in their field. While no one knows everything and we are always learning, a good coach has figured out a decent amount of what works and what doesn’t through their own personal trial and error. Thats why I always say if a coach hasn’t done anything themselves they are useless to you.
If a person asks if they can do something I usually say try it and measure what is does. If the result is bad then there is your answer. If the result is good then keep doing it.
For every black and white rule there is always a black and white opposite. Simply put, what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Which is why I treat rules more like guidelines. They will hold true most of the time but there is always that one pesky exception. So, try it. Measure it. Adjust if need be.
Many new clients come in training 5,6 or 7 days per week. The majority complain of the same things : they always feel tired and beaten and they never make any progress. For all the work they are putting in, the gains just aren’t coming.
Many of them are doing an extra activity on top of their weight training, like playing a sport, martial arts, running, swimming or cycling. Most of them say they do it for the enjoyment and it makes them feel good. It adds balance to their training. Oh and most don’t eat enough because if you want to turn into a lean muscular version of yourself you need to be in a calorie deficit. Apparently. So lots of work and no food.
The first thing I do is drop their training days to 3 or 4. I double or in some cases triple their calories. If they were eating no carbs before, I give them carbs. If they were eating lots of carbs, ill drop them. Basically ill do the opposite to what they were doing because if what they were doing was working they wouldn’t be sitting in front of me. 99% of the time there is an instant positive change within 7 days of starting.
Then ill make the recommendation to drop the other activity.
Cue the sad puppy dog eyes, thunder and lightening and dramatic music.
You’re so mean. You’re ruining my life.
If I wanted to be mean I’d say you’re ugly and you smell. My job is to measure what you do. I’ve measured lots of people and over the years you start to see trends. Namely endurance activities have a negative effect on the body when the goal is to build muscle and drop fat. Is it a black and white rule? Of course not but for the majority of people the rule holds true. So when you ask me if something will effect your results I’m going to answer based on what I’ve seen many, many times before.
Endurance based activity will probably negatively affect your body composition goals because for the majority of people I’ve measured over the years, thats what happens. Telling your body to be a strength athlete one day by lifting weights and then to be an endurance athlete the next day leaves the body confused and looking around going, “WTF do you want from me? Make up your mind!” People either have their progress slow, stop or go backwards when endurance activities are introduced to their strength training regime. If they were doing the activity from the beginning they will normally make no progress at all.
So, ill answer the question of will it affect my progress based on what I’ve seen: it can. Will it? Who knows. But for the majority of people the answer appears to be yes it will.
So try it. Measure it. Adjust.
The bottom line is, if the goal is to be a leaner version of yourself, pick the things that will get you there the fastest: diet and strength training. If you want to be an awesome runner, then go run. If you want to be an awesome fighter then go fight. But if building muscle and dropping fat is the goal then stick to the 2 things that will get you there the fastest. Diet and strength training.
Muddying the waters with a bunch of different activities means you normally end up sucking at everything and making no progress with anything.
Figure out your goal and focus on the simple things needed to achieve it.