“Time is relative”, a famous quote, formed by Mr. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest mathematicians to ever live. A quote said, but not often thought of in relative terms, in today’s society. To me, time is everything, and sometimes just as importantly, timing is everything. Without time, our daily goals and accomplishments would be immeasurable. We know when to eat, go to work, relax, play, and go to sleep, based off of time. But what does that time and/or timing mean to our bodies? Are we dictating to our bodies a timeline, or is there an inability to perform to a given standard that we’re not all quite aware of? When it comes to how much we can make our bodies do, are they always fully and optimally capable? I’ve come to find recently that in the aesthetics world I love to live, time, and timing has become even more important than what I’m actually doing with that time. Let me explain.
How much time do you spend training at the gym, hourly, daily, weekly? I always believed more is better. More time training meant larger gains. But as I get older, my body and wisdom tells me otherwise. It tells me that the time I spend training is better served in efficiency and not in excess. Success can be derived in the gym, as time versus results (output), as a function of intensity. Intensity refers to how hard you train in the time allotted to do so. Intensity doesn’t mean heavier weights necessarily, it means muscle exhaustion. Muscles don’t have an understanding of failure based off of rep ranges or weights, they only know failure. So what does this mean to you, how can you create more intensity? The easiest answer is to push your cardiovascular, muscular, and nervous systems, further. First decide what you’re looking to accomplish from your time spent at the gym. Are you looking to gain muscular size, strength, power, or endurance, for examples? These questions and answers will determine you rep ranges and exercise selection. Power will require short, heavy rep ranges, and endurance will require long, lighter weighted rep ranges. The strength and hypertrophy, or muscular gains, will fall in the middle. Even these ranges are measured in time. Most people believe it is the number of reps, when in actuality, the reps are merely representative of the time under tension. The hypertrophy range is described as a muscle being held under tension for 30-40 seconds. So if you’re training for hypertrophy and looking to only perform 10 reps, each rep needs to consist of a 3-4 second movement. I’m a strong believer that the different philosophies and training types should be individualized and not mixed within a workout. This is to merely avoid injury. Tendons and joints have a hard time adjusting to heavy weights over short periods of time and lighter weights over long periods of time, within a single workout. If you wish to change your rep ranges and weight variations, I believe periodization is a better approach. Periodization refers to set times when you change your training approach. For example, for one month you train heavy for strength, in smaller rep ranges, with longer rest periods. Then for six weeks after that you train in the hypertrophy range with lighter weights and shorter rest periods. No matter what approach you take, I strongly believe, unless you are an advanced athlete, an hour of continuous resistance training is enough. This is predicated off the belief that you are taking only the absolute necessary rest periods, based off your type of training for the day, and you are truly pushing your muscles to failure on any given sets intended.
How often do you eat? How many macros do you consume in a day? These questions are all relative and specific to the individual answering them. But what I have to really ask, is science absolute? Science says one thing, but at what point do we start to believe that science may be relative too? If each person is different, what says that scientifically, we may each need different versions of the set protocol? What if each of us is designed and capable to function or even more so grow, with different intake capabilities? I believe solely, that each of us are capable of needing different amounts of sustenance of certain amounts of time. Some believe that when muscle gains are in discussion, that anything over eight hours without eating will result in a net mass loss, or a "catabolic" state. I understand this, but also believe there is more at play than protein synthesis. I bring this into discussion relative to time. I believe that my bodies timing is ultimately more important and beneficial than eating close together and often enough to sustain an even protein synthesis cycle. My body seems to work better aesthetically and functionally, and performs quite similarly, when my feeding window is smaller. I eat in an 8 hour window and fast for the other 16. I have found with this, my body’s absorption is more optimal, also making bodily functions easier. I look better, feel better, and perform well like this. I don’t get any bloating or uncomfortable feeling like I do when I eat over an extended period of time. It's also nice time wise because it allows me to have a large period of time in the morning, when I do not have to worry about eating and, I have more free time to perform other duties that are needed. Also, with a smaller window for feeding, I have less meals to prepare. Same amount of macros consumed daily, just over fewer, more satisfying meals. This may not be for everyone, but I feel science, may possibly have flaws when individuality is brought into play.
"Time is relative" and each individual is different. We at Built Right Bodies implore everyone to explore all options and theories. We understand that everyone is different and success isn’t universal. We think taking the time to figure out how people function and how their bodies respond, is the most important. If looking your best comes with too many negative consequences, than you will not be able to sustain. Use all means to find the best path for you, and as always, keep working hard.