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Muscle Talk

Jaime Filer

Jaime Filer graduated with a kinesiology degree from York University, where she was a varsity athlete. She’s also a former competitive bodybuilder who competed in drug-tested events throughout North America. If something new is trending in fitness, chances are Jaime’s already tried it!

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Training Zone - Speed - Mind Muscle Connection - Cardio

Faster lifts for faster gains

We follow certain universal rules of thumb in bodybuilding: 5 to 10 minutes of cardio to warm up; 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps; 30 to 90 seconds of rest between sets for fat loss; 2 seconds up, 2 seconds down for lifting tempo … but should it be 0.8 seconds up? Researchers at the University of Rome ran a test in which one group of individuals did the concentric (up) portion of the bench press at a fixed 80 to 100 percent of their maximal speed, which took 0.8 seconds; the eccentric (down) portion took 2 seconds. The control subjects were allowed to go at their own pace and took 1.3 seconds to lift the weight and 1.5 seconds to lower it. After three weeks of this protocol, the maximal strength of the control group had remained constant, but the experimental group’s strength increased by 10.2 percent. So consider a change of pace in the gym, literally.

Training your mind instead of your body for strength gains

Four groups replaced zero, 25, 50, or 75 percent of their strength-training sessions with intense visualization/imaginary training sessions for four weeks. Although the zero percent group made more headway in terms of strength than the other three groups, their progress wasn’t statistically significant relative to the others.

Cardio supports the brain and the body

Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious conditions. Diet and exercise are ways to ward off the symptoms and hopefully prevent the full-blown illness. Psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh have taken the research a step further by studying the brains of people who ran three times a week for 40 minutes. According to a study in the Journal of Gerontology, getting elderly people to run for an hour three times a week at 70 percent of their max heart rate will increase their brain volume after six months. More blood volume means better organ function, which will lead to a better memory.

For more fat loss and strength gain tips and tricks based on science, check out Jaime's column here!