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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Athletic Performance from a Different Angle

This is an interview that Smitty recently did with John Alvino! John is a strength and conditioning specialist and an advisor for Men's Fitness. John gets amazing results with the athletes he trains. He is well known in the industry for getting his athletes completely ripped, and stronger than ever. I asked John to tell me a little bit about his fat loss protocol for athletes. Here's what he had to say:

Tell me, why is it important for athletes to maintain a lean physique and how can they do it without affecting their performance?

Most athletes want to become leaner to improve their sports performance. Unfortunately, most of the fat loss methods out there actually act as an enemy to athleticism. A typical fat loss program involves eating low calories, which significantly hampers the athlete's ability to recover. Athletes tend to experience a decrease in performance as well as a lack of energy when they employ these fat loss protocols for too long.

For your body to function optimally, you must take in an adequate amount of nutrients in order to aid in recovery, prevent injury, and keep your immune system healthy. Fat loss training methods tend to completely ignore this fact about the human body. Thus, most fat loss programs end up making you weaker, slower, and less explosive. Moreover, typical fat loss methods actually encourage the fast twitch muscle fibers to take on characteristics of slower twitch fibers (for those of you who don't know, it is your fast twitch fibers that provide you with explosive strength and quickness). These are very serious consequences to a high level athlete. Fortunately, there is a better way.

My fat loss approach actually encourages more athleticism, more power, and more explosiveness, as well as a higher level of anabolic hormones (testosterone and growth hormone). My athletes find that as they get leaner, their conditioning for their sport actually improves, as does their energy levels. They feel lighter on their feet, yet stronger and even more explosive than they were before. That's because my program is specifically designed to burn fat while encouraging dexterity, speed, and a maximum maintenance of lean muscle.

I usually have only 12 weeks to train an athlete prior to their returning to camp for pre-season. Although their primary goal is to get stronger and faster, I also like to get them as lean as possible. In the 12 weeks they work with me, it is quite typical that my athletes lose 20 lbs of body fat, and yet they make great gains in their strength, power and conditioning. My athletes excel in the strength and conditioning tests upon returning to camp: exercises such as vertical jump, 40 yard dash, 225-lb for reps on the bench press, power cleans, squats, etc.

Here are a few keys to successful fat loss for an athlete:


Do not lose more 2 lbs per week.


Doing so can result in water loss, lean muscle loss, and rapid glycogen depletion. This is turn causes weakness, loss of endurance, fatigue, reduced mental focus, and increases the athlete's susceptibility to injury.

Don't cut carbs too low.

Carbohydrates are an athlete's primary source of energy. It is essential not to restrict carbohydrates too much for too long. This will directly decrease power output and performance in general.

Emphasize cardiovascular activities that engage fast twitch fibers.

By doing so, you ensure that you will not lose power or lean muscle mass as a result of your cardio training. Also, by training this way, you will actually be better prepared for the rigorous requirements of the training regimen of your particular sport, as well as the demands of the sport itself.

Avoid working out exclusively in the high rep range.

High reps are a common prescription in any fat loss program. The athlete's perception is usually that a high rep workout is a better and more thorough workout. They sweat more and the workout often feels more taxing; thus, they mistakenly feel that this means they are burning more fat. There is a big price to pay for this misconception.

The truth is that the high rep protocol is yet another reason performance can decrease. The weight that is used is just too light to adequately engage the neuromuscular system. This, in conjunction with the high volume of these workouts, this protocol often contributes to muscle wasting, and causes the athlete to become slower and weaker

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John Alvino is not the typical "bodybuilding" trainer. All of his fat loss techniques have been refined and perfected on the top level athletes he has trained for the last 7 years.

Check out his program here - Click Here

1 comment:

Rob said...

Great post Jedd will be checking this program out. Sounds like what everyone not wanting to do sissy jogging needs to be tacklng

Cheers
Rob