Exercise and Nutrition: Quality over Quantity
We have all heard the saying quality over quantity but why don’t we apply this to exercise and nutrition? Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus exercise machines and High Intensity Strength Training was a pioneer in the movement to emphasize quality over quantity in fitness. Many times he asked “why do we have such a focus on how much exercise our bodies can possibly endure, rather, why would we not focus on how little quality exercise is needed to stimulate a desired response?” Arthur Jones did just that, during his research in developing HIT or Evidence Based Resistance Training, he found that the human body responds in two different ways, either to volume or intensity.
Most training modalities place a heavy focus on volume. Volume defines a few things, the amount of sets and repetitions performed per exercise, the amount of exercises performed per workout as well as the frequency each muscle group is trained per week. For example, a person doing 1 set to true volitional fatigue on a leg press two times per week is performing less volume than another person performing 3 sets of 10 reps on a leg press. This style of training generally requires 1-2 hours, 4-6 days of the week.
HIT employs a focus on Intensity. Many define intensity by the resistance being used per exercise. We define intensity by the amount of EFFORT given per exercise. For example, the same trainees used above, the role switches. The person performing the leg press to fatigue (being the key word) two sessions per week is performing at a higher intensity. This individual must give every ounce of effort in order to achieve the greatest results. Research shows that this individual will yield the same if not better results than the trainee performing 6 workouts per week!
Volume – Intensity Continuum:
This continuum explains the fact that a trainee can either perform high volume OR high intensity, you cannot physically (metabolically) perform both at the same time. We choose high intensity due to its efficiency, safety and overall effectiveness.
Social media and “experts” consistently promote the newest and greatest nutrition solutions and they continue to evolve over time, so who do you listen to? The answer is simple, listen to your body. What works for one person does not always work for another. In general, eating quality whole foods that include the correct amount of protein, fats and carbs for your goals will make you feel good and give you the results you want. Unless you have specific dietary needs for health conditions, a balanced diet, without cutting out whole food groups is best. Limiting processed foods will also help eliminate added sugar in your diet which has been contributed to fat gain. Many fad diets recommend to emphasize one food group over another or supplements, but this can cause you to become deficient in nutrients lost in the missing food groups. Being deficient causes your body to work at a suboptimal rate and can cause issues with your normal bodily functions. By eating a balanced diet your body’s metabolism can operate at it’s best and help you reach your goals!