What is conclusive? That’s a very hard question to answer yet one I endeavour to one day build a conclusion upon. This question lies heavy on my mind after a good natured debate this morning with several ‘’house hold’’ (fitness industry anyway) coaches, athletes and personalities. Science has never impressed me so much that I exclusively follow its findings because there is often compromise. Good science and bad science exists, of that I am a firm believer in. However I do love a bit of science, especially when it is easily applied, understandable and usable. The piece I posted on which sparked the debate was on training frequency – how often should you train a muscle? The age old response is of course once a week, and you should ‘’smash it up’’ at that. My issues with this is that science tells us muscle protein synthesis levels (MPS) rise for 48 hours within the trained muscle, thereafter they return to basal levels. When you consider MPS allows for better protein utilisation and anabolism it makes perfect sense to desire elevated MPS levels within each muscle as frequently as possible. Annihilating each muscle once a week isn’t particularly efficient at achieving this, stimulating each muscle twice or even three times a week is. This is where I love science – some good basic solid information which can be taken and applied quite easily. For those who say I don’t listen to science I disagree, this gem has completely changed the way I program training plans for muscle mass.
Enough of that, we aren’t actually hear to discuss ‘’training’’ and ‘’frequency’’ it was merely an example to set the tone for a one-way debate (I am sure you can respond as you read). Some of the feedback from some world renowned fitness names was that they employ a ‘’once a week’’ training philosophy and feel it works fine. So does that mean they are defying science? I’m not sure; you could argue their way isn’t scientifically optimal. However their results appear to be impressive.
This is where I think science and ‘’real life’’ in the trenches know how can make the perfect marriage. There are often grey areas between the black and white lines – those who can exist in the middle, use some of each and apply it are usually those who become the better coaches in my experience.
Science certainly doesn’t have all the answers yet it absolutely has its place on a basic level (I’m not talking medical here, that’s a whole new ball game way above my head). If you can form a collaboration between the two then I think you are on to a winner. The trick is to learn how to do that. So could ‘’conclusive’’ mean to have ‘’an’’ answer? I’m not sure.