Two things I see holding men and women back from sculpting the jacked physique they desire;
1) No respect for rest and recovery. Typically combined with a fear of training less than 6 days per week.
2) No respect for low volume training phases.
Oddly enough, one of the toughest challenges I face as a physique coach is convincing clients to take a leap of faith and reduce their training volume (number of sets per muscle group per week), while embracing a maintenance phase.
Their resistance to this change comes from;
a) Their love of training and pushing themselves in the gym. They thrive from challenging workouts and massive PUMPS. It gives them a sense of accomplishment. Training less makes them feel like they are slacking off or like they’re missing out on something.
It’s very much like an addiction. And over time they’ve become ‘high volume junkies‘. Hopping from one hard core training program to the next.
b) Their fear of losing muscle.
I completely empathize with my clients as I’ve also been a volume junkie and I too absolutely LOVE pushing myself in the gym. Often times a day doesn’t feel complete if I haven’t worked out. Mainly because it brings me such joy. So I know where my clients are coming from.
But, I also know that training with high volume for extended periods of time is counter productive.
High volume workouts build up a lot of fatigue, which is great in the short term and an important part of the growth process. But, they take their toll over time and can beat your body up pretty good. Unfortunately some fitness enthusiasts wear this like a badge of honour. After all, “no pain, no gain” right?
But even if you feel like you can handle high volume for extended periods of time — meaning that you don’t feel beat up and you are maintaining your performance in the gym, there’s still a major downside to continuing with high volume…
…your body adapts!
If you are training with high volume all of the time, your body becomes desensitized to the stimulus. It no longer needs to change (gain more muscle) in order to handle the high training volume. You’re basically busting your butt in the gym with little to no pay off.
This is where introducing a maintenance phase is crucial to your long term progress.
Reducing your training volume to somewhere between 8-12 sets per muscle group will benefit you in two very important ways;
1) The fatigue you’ve accumulated from the high volume training will dissipate. Allowing your body to fully recover. This is especially beneficial if you’ve been dealing with any nagging injuries, achy joints, or little niggles that you’ve been feeling during your workouts.
The result will be improved performance during your workouts as you begin to bump up the training volume again.
2) It will resensitize your muscles to the training stimulus. Meaning that when you shift from the maintenance volume to a moderate training volume your muscles will be more responsive and grow. And when you hit the high volume phase again they’ll grow more.
Other benefits you may experience from a maintenance phase are improved sleep, more energy, and more time to explore other fun activities that life has to offer.
When you really take a moment to think about it… the maintenance phase is the most important workout phase to get you jacked, because it’s the catalyst for future growth spurts.
This is why you’ll always hear me drilling home the importance of taking a big picture approach to your training. Following a system where each plan builds upon the other.
In terms of training volume, a system should look something like this;
2-3 months of moderate training volume workouts. Beginning on the lower end (approximately 14 sets per muscle group per week for advanced lifters) and slowly building up to the top end of the moderate volume range (approximately 20 sets per muscle group per week for advanced lifters).
1-2 months of high volume workouts. Performing 20+ sets per muscle group per week for advanced lifters.
1 month of maintenance volume workouts. Performing 8-12 sets per muscle group per week.
This is just smart, strategic, progressive, periodized training. It’s an approach that will keep you improving over the long term.
If you take anything from my coaching and guidance, please let it be the importance of following a workout system with a ‘Big Picture Approach‘ over a single workout plan.
A program is a snapshot in time with no reference to your past workout plans and no outlook to the future workouts.
A system on the other hand takes a big picture approach, strategically progressing workout plans so they work synergistically and feed off each other.
A program on its own can produce results. Multiple programs strategically built into a system will produce results at an exponential rate and keep you progressing for the long term.
Sculpt a Masterpiece,
Coach Scott Tousignant
PS Would you like to follow the same workouts as me and see exactly what I eat every day to carve out ripped abs and build rock solid muscle? Join The Jacked After 40 Club today!