The Every-Other-Day Workout Plan – T Nation Content – COMMUNITY

One Day On, One Day Off for Hardcore Lifters

If you love to lift hard, then train every other day to make the most gains. Here’s why and how to plan it.

To maximize strength or muscle growth, get more awesome workouts than below-average workouts. Seems logical, right? Yet most lifters believe a bad workout is better than no workout. Their reasoning? Even though their performance sucks, they’re still imposing muscular stress, which promotes growth. Sorry, but it’s not that simple.

Crappy workouts occur because your muscles or your nervous system aren’t recovered. Imposing more stress leads to a downward spiral: your body is playing catch up and might not be able to fully recover, much less positively adapt.

If you want to get rid of the bad workouts and maximize performance, rest the day prior to your workout. That’s a one-day on, one-day off approach – train every other day. Rest the day before each workout so you can train harder and better every time.

Why an Every-Other-Day Split?

  • Protein synthesis in a trained muscle peaks at around 24 hours and remains elevated for 36 hours after your workout. This covers the rest of your training day and the following day.
  • Taking a day off after your workout – while increasing protein intake and doing non-stressful physical activity – allows you to get the most out of the higher protein synthesis.
  • The main benefit of every-other-day training is being able to work brutally hard while significantly lowering your risk of training burnout.
  • To get the most out of this approach, use a whole-body training split. This gives you a very high training frequency for each muscle, despite a moderate overall frequency. (An alternative approach is a lift-specific program: bench and assistance on day one, squat and assistance on day two, etc.)

Your results won’t decrease from “only” training every other day (3-4 workouts a week). Some get similar results and some get massively superior results. But whatever your results, you’ll feel better, reduce aches and pains, and gain more energy and time to do other things.

EOD: Hard Workers Only!

The workout stimulates the body to grow, but the growth occurs when you rest and feed the body. Everyone says it, but many of those same people train 5-6 days a week, doing 30 sets per workout.

It’s not impossible to train 5-6 days a week. If the volume is low enough, it’s doable. But if you train with moderate or higher volume and keep a high effort level on your sets, you won’t be able to train 5-6 days a week and progress optimally while feeling good.

Before steroids, lifters trained 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and built a ton of strength and size. One could argue that training 5-6 days a week, using body part splits and jacking up the volume, came along with steroids.

I’m not saying you can’t progress when training 5-6 days a week. When you’re young, have no responsibilities, and aren’t strong yet, it’s doable. But in the real adult world, most crash on that schedule. Those who don’t crash usually aren’t training very hard. Don’t confuse working out a lot with working hard!

So, this approach is for those who train brutally HARD – hard enough to stimulate significant growth. Every-other-day training isn’t for the lazy. It’s for those who NEED to take a day off after a workout because it would be impossible to have a productive workout the next day.

Systemic Effects Of Training

Dedicated lifters are probably saying, “Yeah, but if I’m not hitting the same muscles, why can’t I train hard two days in a row?”

It’d be a valid point if local fatigue (the fatigue you get in trained muscles) was all that happened when you trained. But it isn’t. Each workout also has systemic effects that can have a negative impact on performance, such as increased cortisol negatively affecting whole-body protein synthesis and increases protein breakdown.

It’s the systemic stuff that gets you. If it’s great enough, it even negatively impacts your state of mind and motivation. The harder a workout, the greater the systemic fatigue. Your volume, how hard you push your sets, the amount of weight you use, and the difficulty of the exercises, are key factors affecting the stress level of a workout.

A lifter doing mostly of isolation or machine exercises with light to moderate weights not pushed to the limit experiences less systemic stress. That’s why training one-day on/one-day off isn’t for those who don’t want to train that much; rather, it’s for those who train so hard they need a day off after their workouts.

It’s Not an Off Day. It’s a Peaking Day

If you have a mental issue with taking a day off, change your mindset and see it as a peaking day. Use the day before a workout as a tool to help you destroy the weights on training day. You might even have more calories and carbs on the non-workout days if your goal is to blow your muscles up as much as possible and gain an advantage on the big lifts.

The Best Way to Organize Your Workouts

Use a split where each muscle gets stimulated, at least indirectly, twice per four-workout cycle. Since you have four workouts per eight days, if you use a traditional bodybuilding-style body part split, you’ll likely wait too long between hitting each muscle to grow optimally.

Whole-body workouts are your best option. Here you have the option of using two different workouts repeated twice per eight-day cycle; four different sessions done once per eight-day cycle; or three whole-body workouts rotated.

Build each workout on four multi-joint exercises (one squat, one press, one pull, one hinge). You have the option of adding 1-2 isolation exercises for lagging muscles.

Whole-Body (Two Different Sessions)

  • Day 1: WB 1
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: WB 2
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: WB 1
  • Day : Off
  • Day 7: WB 2
  • Day 8: Off

Whole-Body (Four Different Sessions)

  • Day 1: WB 1
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: WB 2
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: WB 3
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: WB 4
  • Day 8: Off

Whole-Body (Three Different Sessions)

  • Day 1: WB 1
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: WB 2
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: WB 3
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: WB 1*
  • Day 8: Off

* The next cycle would start with the WB 2 workout.

How to Eat

If your goal is to gain muscle and strength, ingest a caloric surplus. I’m not suggesting piling on fat, but if you want to build muscle, you’ll have to bathe your body in nutrients. Eating a surplus – especially if it comes from carbohydrates – puts the body in an ideal physiological state to grow.

I recommend having your greatest caloric and carb intake on the NON-workout days, especially if your goal is maximum gains.

Non-Workout Day Nutrition

The days you’re not training are meant to:

  • Maximize the growth from the previous day’s workout
  • Load the muscles full of glycogen and water
  • Facilitate systemic recovery to be rested for the next session

Carbs: Your surplus should come mainly from carbs. Carbs set up an anabolic milieu by decreasing cortisol and increasing mTOR, IGF-1, and insulin. (Carbs are the best “supplement” to lower cortisol.) Carbs lower adrenaline, allowing you to sleep better and prevent beta-adrenergic downregulation (the leading cause of training burnout). They replenish muscle glycogen and pull water into the muscles. Carbs are also protein-sparing.

Protein: Protein is the second most important nutrient. The workout and carbs put your body in an anabolic/muscle-building state, but you still need the protein to take advantage of that state. About 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is enough to maximize growth. Use MD Protein (Buy at Amazon) to hit that goal.

Fat: Fat should be kept lower, mostly to be able to get in more carbs. Get 0.25 grams per pound of bodyweight with an emphasis on omega-3 fatty acids and mono/polyunsaturated fatty acids. Eat “real food” and supplement with a quality supplement like Flameout DHA-Rich Fish Oil (Buy at Amazon).

Flameout Buy-on-Amazon

Training Day Nutrition

Calories should actually be a bit lower, mostly via a lower carb intake. Carbs should be concentrated around your workout (before, during, after) and in the last meal of the day. Ideally, use Surge Workout Fuel (Buy at Amazon) for your training, keep the carbs lower in other meals, and then have some carbs at night to decrease cortisol.

The number of carbs (on both types of days) should vary depending on your goal:

  • Maximum muscle/strength without regard to fat gain
  • High rate of growth with some fat gain accepted
  • Significant growth with minimal fat gain
  • Some muscle growth with no fat gain

On the non-workout days, carb intake should be around 50% higher than on the training days. Example: 200 grams on training days (counting workout nutrition drink) and 300 on non-workout days.

The amount of protein on training days can be a little bit higher. Fats can be a bit higher on training days since it’s good to support hormone production and nervous system function.


Stimulate, Then Grow

Stimulating your muscles through training and allowing the growth to happen through nutrition and rest are opposite processes that need each other.

When you train, you deplete glycogen and ATP while breaking down muscle tissue. When you recover, you store these things and increase protein accrual to the muscle tissue. When you train, you also increase catabolic hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. When you rest and grow, your anabolic hormones like IGF-1 and insulin go up.

The body is very inefficient at doing two opposite things at the same time. It can do it, but you lose on both ends. If you introduce a second workout while you’re still in the recovery phase of the previous session, you must halt the recovery process for the time of the workout and then restart it. And when recovery from the second workout is added to that of the first one, it decreases adaptation to one or both of them.

The every-other-day approach is the most efficient way to train and gain.


Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Nyc Health Store | Amazon Affiliate Store
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)