TMC’s final installment of our incredibly informative interview with Dave Durell.
THE OVER-RATED ASPECTS OF THE FITNESS INDUSTRY: DAVE’S VIEW ON CARDIO
Durell lambasts the traditional manner in which most people do cardio as “a complete joke” and “a sad commentary on our society in general… everybody wants to always take the easy way out, and fool themselves into thinking they are doing something productive, when in their heart of hearts they know that they are really cheating themselves.” While the most commonly used piece of cardio in the gym is the treadmill, he equates “walking on a treadmill at 2.8 miles per hour to improve your cardiovascular conditioning” to “trying to get a suntan by standing in front of a 60 watt light bulb.” He cites the fact that “you have to put your name on a list for the apparatus that lets you walk slowly” while the “one-and-only Step Mill in the gym” remains available as “quite disgusting.”
He relates the story of client with a history of open heart surgery who had “blown away” his cardiologist’s stress test performed by monitoring his heart rate on a treadmill, while his exercise regime consisted only of performing two high intensity workouts comprised of 1 set of 10-12 exercises for the full body each week. Nonetheless, his cardiologist recommended that he “do more cardio” in an effort to “look out for him long term.” Durell calls the cardiologist’s advice and his client’s blind acceptance of his advice, despite the outstanding cardiovascular results he was achieving with HIT “very sad” and a product of a society of “second-handers” with “a follower’s mentality,” not using their brains to “think critically, examine the facts of reality for themselves, and apply them logically to their own lives,” questioning “why would you change a thing… and why wouldn’t the cardiologist want to know what I had my guy doing, so all his patients could get similar results?” He cites the “coddling” mentality of the medical and fitness community to the people that they are ostensibly committed to helping as largely at fault for the gross misconceptions about cardio and workouts. Dave summarizes his views on cardio vascular exercise in one quote
“if something doesn’t make you huff and puff, it’s probably not going to do very much for you fitness-wise.”
THE UNDERRATED ASPECTS OF FITNESS: DAVE’S VIEW ON RECOVERY
“The workout, understand, doesn’t produce muscle growth, but merely serves to stimulate the body’s growth mechanism into motion. It is the body that produces the growth, but only if left undisturbed during a sufficient rest period.” -Mike Mentzer, Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body
Durell cites the foundation of a successful training program as stress management; too little stress, and you don’t stimulate any changes; too much stress, and you don’t get the desired response.” He relates the story of Arthur Jones, who had bodybuilders flying into Daytona Beach from all over the country to test his claim that he could increase arm size by ½ inch in one workout. Jones would have the “chronically over-trained bodybuilder” rest for three days in a hotel on the beach, on the fourth day put them through a “murderous” arm workout, and then have them spend the fifth day resting; his claims were valid, as a result of the rest, the bodybuilder had an average size increase of ½ inch after a single workout.
Similarly, distance runners who have been forced to take several weeks off from training due to illness or injury often win major championships on their return.“Bottom line: Don’t underestimate the value of recovery to your training success. Take a little extra time once in a while to let your body, and your mind, fully recover from the stress of training, and life in general. Some extra rest and relaxation will not hinder your training efforts; on the contrary, it is one of the best things you can do to enhance them.”
DIET AND NUTRITION
Building on the framework of a properly balanced diet, Durell shares the proper equation for building pure muscle and the underlying logic: Muscle tissue consists of approximately 70% water, 22% protein, 6% lipids, and 2% inorganic materials. Since water contains no calories, the most abundant nutrient in muscle tissue that does contain calories is protein. This makes sense, because protein is responsible for growth, maintenance and repair of tissue throughout the human body.
So how much extra dietary protein do you actually need to build more muscle? Probably not as much as you may have been led to believe-especially by people trying to sell you protein supplements. A little simple mathematics will give us a good idea. Let’s say, for example, that you are going to train hard enough, and have the genetic potential, to build 20 pounds of muscle in the next 4 months. Dietary protein is usually measured in grams, so we need to break the goal down to that level. We know that a pound of muscle is roughly 22% protein. There are 16 ounces in a pound. 22% of 16 ounces is about 3.52 ounces. There are approximately 28.4 grams in an ounce; 3.52 ounces times 28.4 grams per ounce equals approximately 99.97 grams of protein in one pound of muscle. To be on the safe side (and make the rest of the math easier), let’s round that up to 100 grams of protein in one pound of muscle.
Therefore, to gain 20 pounds of muscle, you would need about 2000 extra grams of protein. Dividing this amount by the number of days in 4 months-let’s say 120- equals 16.67 grams of protein per day.So you need about 17 grams of extra protein a day to build 20 pounds of muscle in 4 months. Not 1700. Not 170. Only 17 grams a day. Since protein contains 4 calories per gram, those 17 grams of protein add up to 68 additional calories per day, over and above your daily maintenance needs. It really shouldn’t be very difficult to consume an extra 68 calories worth of low-fat protein per day.
And how do you know if your goal of gaining 20 pounds of pure muscle in 4 months is really attainable? There’s only one way to find out: GO FOR IT. While Durell’s formula most likely reveals a gross over-saturation of protein in your own diet, his insightful formula and logic help effectively set dietary goals for building muscle and, “Even if you only get halfway there, that will still be an extraordinary accomplishment.”
Dave Durell imparts valuable advice on breaking past the much-dreaded but inevitable plateau that everyone has experienced at some point during training or weight loss, sharing excerpts from his new book.
“Training to failure, with brief workouts performed infrequently (1-2 workouts/week), will yield excellent results for a majority of trainees for quite a long time. However, at some point a plateau will be reached. Even though you are lifting heavy weights until you can’t lift them anymore, you are keeping your workouts brief, and you are providing enough rest days between workouts for full recovery, the time will come when that won’t be enough to stimulate more size and strength. The reason is that even though you are taking each set to a point of failure, where you can’t possibly lift the weight any more, the truth is there is still a lot of strength left in that muscle. And in order to continue making gains, you have to tap into that unused strength. The way to do that is to incorporate techniques that will exhaust these remaining strength levels—and that’s what Hyper Intensity Training is all about.”
“As mentioned previously, the skeletal muscles of the human body all possess 3 levels of strength. The first level is the positive, or concentric, level, which is used to lift or raise a weight, as the muscle contracts and goes from an extended position toward the fully contracted position. The second level of strength is the static level, which is used when you hold the weight at any given point in the range of motion, such as the fully contracted position. Your static strength level is considerably stronger than your positive strength; meaning you can hold quite a bit more weight at any point in the range of motion than you can lift from the start position to the finish position of the exercise. Your static strength level, however, is not as strong as the negative strength level. When you release the weight from the finish position (figure 2 above) and return it to the start position (figure 1 above), resisting the pull of the weight slowly under full muscular control, you are using your negative, or eccentric, level of strength. Your negative strength is by far the strongest level.
No matter why it happens, it’s clear that these strength differences exist; what we need to figure out now is-how do we utilize this information to our advantage? To answer that question, we first need to gain an understanding of the concept of “inroad”, a term coined many years ago by our friction theory guy, Arthur Jones. Inroad refers to the reduction in the level of starting strength as a result of performing muscular work; in other words, how much strength got used up by performing the exercise. The creation of this inroad is the stimulus that will, given enough time and resources for full recovery, cause your muscles to adapt by getting bigger and stronger. And the greater the inroad, the greater the stimulus.” Dave’s new book, sharing his extensive knowledge and experience on training plateaus, is set for release in the next few weeks.
HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING AND WOMEN
Dave began training his wife, Patty, using HIT principles shortly after they met in 1992, after she expressed dissatisfaction with the results she had from her traditional workout routine that she had been practicing for several years, working out daily, performing multiple sets, and using unchallenging weights. She finally garnered the desired results by modifying her workout to adhere to HIT principles, working out once every five days and only doing aerobic activity “for pleasure.” She cites being 20 pounds lighter and “in the best shape I’ve ever been… I’m definitely more confident in myself. I feel stronger, I don’t have as many aches and pains as I used to.” The weight loss achieved with HIT is sustainable weight loss, her workouts are “definitely” hitting her target heart rate zone, and “I just overall feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I like the way I look a whole lot more than I did seven or eight years ago.”
The principles of HIT are the same physically for women as for men, the differences are in the mental blocks women have pertaining to lifting heavy weights and weight-training in general; “No special changes or adaptations are required for female trainees, all human beings have the same skeletal muscles.” Patty advises that women need to rid themselves of the mentality that “‘if I lift heavy weights I’m going to look big’… I’m pretty strong and I think I lift pretty heavy weights and I’m definitely not a Lenda Murray-looking woman.” She propones that women can lift heavy weights without bulking up, the size gained is determined by genetics, not workout intensity and advocates the importance for women of finding “a good, reliable training partner who has the same goals in mind as you do to achieve through weight training.
Durell’s use of HIT principles, focus on proper rest, form, and exertion, and unwillingness to adhere to the practices that coddle to the lazy have transformed the lives of many that he has trained and many that have read his story and books. Dave Durell’s journey from “classic weakling” to fitness expert is a riveting exploration of the transformative power of the mind over the body, revealing that with inspiration, determination, and an unwillingness to give up, we can triumph.
We encourage any of our readers to reach out to Dave regarding any of the information or recommendations found in this interview. He is a fountain of knowledge and would be glad to get back to you.
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