If you are on a low carb diet, you need to adapt your training at the gym to avoid loosing time without any improvement. Forget hypertrophy, you need to work out to promote hyperplasia!
Now, I know that you know it, but let’s just spend a minute explaining the basis of exercise.
The most powerful fuel for our muscles is ATP, it’s like the nitro for a drag racing engine: it’s great and explosive, but it lasts only for a few seconds, because we only store a little in our muscles and we can’t produce it fast enough to replenish it while exercising. A 100 metres sprinter runs almost entirely on ATP and creatine phosphate, it’s fast, strong and has powerful and well defined muscles. We all want to be like Husain Bolt, including the two Lamborghinis in the garage…
During a 10-15 seconds performance, we don’t produce lactic acid, responsible for those muscle pain that most of us thought were a normal result after a session at the gym.
Remember the slogan “no pain, no gain”? Well, that’s not true, not at all!
Our goal is to increase the hyperplasia, that is the number of muscle cells, rather than hypertrophy, that is the size of muscle cells. And while hypertrophy lasts only as long as you continue your pumping iron, hyperplasia is a much more permanent result.
All good, but how can we do it? We need to transform our workouts, making them more similar to Bolt’s or if you prefer to a powerlifter’s. We need to work on explosive strength, pushing hard but keeping long rests between sets to give way to our muscles to replenish the used ATP. And we also need to give enough rest to the muscles after a gym session.
The result will be well defined muscles, strength, high energy levels, no muscle pains.
FIRST STEP: POWER
4-5 sets, 5-6 reps each with 4 minutes rest between sets, lower the reps but not the weight if you have to. Two days, upper body the first and lower body the second, 1 basic exercise.
SECOND STEP: HIGH INTENSITY
4-5 sets, 6-10 reps each with 4 minutes rest between sets, try to complete each set in about 10 seconds without any rest. Split the body in four, alternating one day of training and one day of rest.
THIRD STEP (OPTIONAL): PUMPING
If you aren’t strict low carb and you are also looking for some hypertrophy, you can add another step after at least three or four days of total rest: two days of pumping, upper body one day and lower body the next, 4-5 sets, 12-15 reps for the upper body and 15-20 for the lower body, 1 minute rest between sets.
Pumping will produce lactic acid and significant levels of cortisol, and will require some more carbs that the amounts generally allowed on a low carb diet, but if you are looking for volume is the way to go, just try to get your carbs from fresh fruit and vegetables and not from refined starches.
After two days of total rest, the cycle starts again.