Analysis Roundup #23: Weightlifting Periodization, Protein and Kidney Well being, and Dehydration and Efficiency


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It’s estimated that there are over 2+ million scientific papers printed annually, and this firehose solely appears to accentuate.

Even in case you slender your focus to health analysis, it could take a number of lifetimes to unravel the hairball of research on diet, coaching, supplementation, and associated fields.

For this reason my staff and I spend 1000’s of hours annually dissecting and describing scientific research in articles, podcasts, and books and utilizing the outcomes to formulate our 100% all-natural sports activities dietary supplements and inform our teaching companies. 

And whereas the ideas of correct consuming and exercising are easy and considerably immutable, reviewing new analysis can reinforce or reshape how we eat, prepare, and dwell for the higher. 

Thus, every week, I’m going to share three scientific research on weight loss plan, train, supplementation, mindset, and life-style that may allow you to acquire muscle and energy, lose fats, carry out and really feel higher, dwell longer, and get and keep more healthy. 

This week, you’ll study if periodization helps skilled weightlifters progress, how high-protein weight-reduction plan impacts your well being, and whether or not dehydration kiboshes your athletic efficiency.


Should you’ve been lifting weights for five+ years, you must most likely periodize your coaching.

Supply: “Is stronger higher? Affect of a energy section adopted by a hypertrophy section on muscular diversifications in resistance-trained males” printed on November 26, 2020 in Analysis in Sports activities Medication.

When you’ve been coaching for greater than 3 years or so, there aren’t many levers you may pull to get greater and stronger.

You could be a bit extra disciplined about your weight loss plan, sleep, and complement routine, focus extra on giving your full effort in your exercises, or prepare extra, however with every of those, you shortly attain a degree of diminishing returns.

One of many few instruments you continue to have at your disposal, although, is to enhance your exercise programming, particularly by implementing periodization (systematically adjusting coaching variables akin to quantity and depth over time) .

A notable instance of this tactic’s energy comes from this research performed by scientists on the College of Campinas.

The researchers matched 26 skilled weightlifters into pairs primarily based on the thickness of their vastus lateralis (outer quad) muscle tissues, then randomly assigned the weightlifters in every pair to certainly one of two teams: a energy+hypertrophy group or a hypertrophy-only group. (Pairing folks primarily based on muscle dimension helped guarantee each of us had roughly the identical coaching expertise.) 

Each teams did 2 exercises per week for 8 weeks. The weightlifters within the energy+hypertrophy group did 3 weeks of strength-based coaching adopted by 5 weeks of hypertrophy-based coaching, whereas the hypertrophy-only group solely did hypertrophy-based coaching.

Particularly, the strength-based coaching consisted of 4 units of 1-to-3 reps of the squat and leg press with 3 minutes of relaxation between units. The hypertrophy-based coaching consisted of 4 units of 8-to-12 reps of the identical workouts with 1 minute of relaxation between units.

The outcomes confirmed that the hypertrophy-only group carried out extra quantity load (units × reps × weight) all through the research than the energy+hypertrophy group (~103,196 kilos vs. ~80,664 kilos for the squat and ~323,327 kilos vs. ~241,031 for the leg press). Regardless of this, the energy+hypertrophy group gained extra muscle and elevated their one-rep max energy greater than the hypertrophy-only group. 

This desk summarizes the outcomes:


So does this imply everybody ought to give attention to getting stronger earlier than getting greater?

Not essentially.

Earlier analysis suggests that people who find themselves new to weightlifting can acquire muscle and energy no matter the kind of coaching they do, so there’s no want for newbs to complicate their coaching with totally different phases for energy and hypertrophy.

Different analysis reveals, nonetheless, that in case you’re a extra skilled weightlifter (you’ve been correctly coaching for ~3 years or extra) and also you’re closing in in your genetic potential for muscle acquire, utilizing periodization is among the best methods to proceed making progress. 

Unusually, this research additionally discovered that those that did the least whole work (quantity) gained essentially the most muscle and energy. That is opposite to most present analysis, which typically reveals that the extra superior you’re, the extra work it’s a must to do to proceed getting greater and stronger.

(That’s why I like to recommend rookies following my Greater Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger packages do fewer weekly units than extra skilled weightlifters following my Past Greater Leaner Stronger program.)

One limitation of this research was that the weightlifters concerned have been all younger, male, and skilled, so we don’t know if the outcomes apply to ladies or older folks.

The researchers additionally didn’t management the weightlifters’ diets, which implies there’s an opportunity the energy+hypertrophy group noticed superior outcomes as a result of they ate extra energy and protein than the hypertrophy-only group.

Lastly, the model of periodization on this research is only one out of many you can use, so it’s additionally not value getting too fixated on the particulars. By my lights, it’s finest to view this research as one other piece of proof that some periodization might be higher than none for skilled weightlifters, moderately than proof the exact periodization scheme on this research is perfect. 

These caveats apart, the research gives worthwhile perception into how skilled weightlifters can guarantee continued success. And in case you’d like a periodized energy coaching program designed to assist skilled weightlifters attain their genetic potential for dimension and energy, try my health guide Past Greater Leaner Stronger.

(Or in case you aren’t positive if Past Greater Leaner Stronger is best for you or if one other energy coaching program could be a greater match on your circumstances and objectives, then take Legion Power Coaching Quiz, and in lower than a minute, you’ll know the right energy coaching program for you. Click on right here to test it out.)

TL;DR: When you’ve been following a correct energy coaching program for a number of years, you must most likely begin following a periodized plan to proceed getting greater and stronger. 

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Excessive-protein weight-reduction plan isn’t unhealthy on your kidneys and liver.

Supply: “Case Studies on Nicely-Skilled Bodybuilders: Two Years on a Excessive Protein Food plan” printed on January 1, 2018 in Journal of Train Physiology.

“Excessive-protein weight-reduction plan would possibly allow you to construct muscle, however it’ll destroy your kidneys and liver in the long term.”

Many well being gurus nonetheless recite this mantra, and it’s usually used as an argument in favor of veganism or vegetarianism (which are usually a lot decrease in protein than omnivorous diets). 

To place this previous noticed to the proof, scientists at Nova Southeastern College put 5 skilled male bodybuilders on a high-protein weight loss plan (at the very least 1 gram of protein per pound of physique weight per day) for 2 years.

Throughout the experiment, the bodybuilders saved a meals diary 3 days per week and went to the lab each 6 months to take assessments to measure their kidney and liver well being and physique composition.

At totally different factors all through the research, 2 bodybuilders had barely elevated creatinine ranges and 4 had marginally excessive blood urea nitrogen (BUN) ranges, however there was no constant sample to how these markers fluctuated.

For instance, one bodybuilder had excessive BUN ranges firstly of the research and after 2 years, however regular ranges on the finish of the primary 12 months. One other had excessive BUN ranges firstly solely. And yet one more had excessive BUN ranges on the finish of 12 months 1 and a pair of however not firstly.

The almost certainly rationalization for these muddled blood outcomes is that different elements have been impacting them. As an example, the bodybuilders could have educated shortly earlier than doing their blood assessments, which can elevate each of these blood markers. 

Given these outcomes and the findings of different related research, it’s affordable to conclude that long-term high-protein weight-reduction plan is completely protected, supplied you’re wholesome.

As an apart, not one of the bodybuilders constructed any considerable muscle in the course of the research. To see no enchancment over 2 years is uncommon, even in very skilled weightlifters. That is most likely an indication they weren’t coaching or weight-reduction plan optimally.

Among the best methods to keep away from stagnation like that is to entrust a coach to information you thru the method. 

And in case you’d prefer to study if hiring a coach is the easiest way so that you can obtain your health objectives, take the Legion Teaching Quiz now.

TL;DR: Following a high-protein weight loss plan (1+ grams per pound of physique weight per day) isn’t unhealthy on your kidneys or liver. 

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Dehydration doesn’t damage marathon operating efficiency.

Supply: “Inverse relationship between proportion physique weight change and ending time in 643 forty-two-kilometre marathon runners” printed on December 15, 2010 in British Medical Journal.

Sports activities drink producers, coaches, and scientists have been railing towards the hazards of dehydration for many years. 

That is notably true in endurance sports activities, the place hydration has turn into an nearly cult-like monomania. 

Whereas this doctrine rings true (and has bought quite a lot of Gatorade), analysis reveals it’s largely hogwash. 

One purpose to recover from our concern of the dehydration bogeyman is that the quickest athletes are sometimes essentially the most dehydrated.

A very good instance of this comes from a research printed within the British Medical Journal that in contrast the ending occasions and dehydration ranges of 643 runners after the 2009 Mont Saint-Michel Marathon.

On this research, the researchers weighed the runners firstly and finish of the race to calculate the share of physique weight the runners misplaced or gained in the course of the marathon. Whereas measuring the share of physique weight reduction after a race isn’t a good measure of dehydration, it’s a fairly good proxy.

There are two vital findings from this research.

First, regardless of all of the runners receiving the identical recommendation from the marathon’s organizers about how a lot they need to drink in the course of the race, round ~10% of the runners overdrank, which not solely doesn’t enhance efficiency however is probably deadly

That is pertinent as a result of it implies that many individuals are nonetheless swayed by the guff disseminated by misinformed health influencers and sports activities drink entrepreneurs, who declare that experiencing any quantity of dehydration hinders efficiency and dangers your well being.

Should you’re an athlete of any stripe—weightlifter, jiu jitsu participant, endurance athlete, or anything—cease guzzling liquid since you’re afraid of dehydration. Drink to thirst and no extra

Second, the outcomes confirmed that the runners misplaced a mean of ~3.7 kilos (2.3% physique weight) in the course of the race and that there was an almost good inverse correlation between hydration standing and operating velocity. The quickest runners have been constantly essentially the most dehydrated. 

Particularly, runners who completed in lower than 3 hours (very quick) have been about 3% dehydrated, those that completed in 3-to-4 hours have been 2.5% dehydrated, and those that took greater than 4 hours to complete have been 1.8% dehydrated. It’s value quoting the researcher’s conclusion in full, because it’s a stark refutation of ordinary hydration dogma:

“These knowledge aren’t appropriate with laboratory-derived knowledge suggesting that [body weight] loss larger than 2% throughout train impairs athletic efficiency. They match an in depth physique of proof displaying that essentially the most profitable athletes in marathon and ultra-marathon operating and triathlon occasions are incessantly those that lose considerably greater than 3–4% [body weight] throughout competitors.”

In fact, some would possibly argue that these athletes would carry out even higher in the event that they stayed hydrated, however there are two causes this pondering doesn’t maintain water (harhar): 

  1. Prime athletes spend a whole lot of hours annually testing varied hydration and fueling methods of their coaching, and lots of spend 1000’s of {dollars} on gear, teaching, dietary supplements, and coaching plans to slice seconds off their race occasions. If merely ingesting extra water boosted their efficiency, they’d make rattling positive to do it on race day. 
  2. Randomized managed trials (RCTs) have proven gentle dehydration doesn’t lower athletic efficiency. 

Keep in mind this the subsequent time you hear somebody sermonize in regards to the significance of staying hydrated. 

At this level, you could be questioning, “If water is a necessary nutrient, dehydration should damage your efficiency sooner or later, proper?”

Sure, however it’s a lot tougher to succeed in this threshold than most individuals understand. 

Though scientists aren’t positive precisely how dehydrated it’s a must to be earlier than your efficiency skids, this level most likely varies from individual to individual and is probably going larger than 5-to-10% of physique weight (at which level you’ll possible be very thirsty and can wish to drink anyway). It additionally possible improves as you get fitter (as evidenced by the truth that sooner athletes can tolerate larger ranges of dehydration). 

TL;DR: Dehydration doesn’t negatively have an effect on your athletic efficiency or well being. Drink to thirst, and no extra. 

+ Scientific References


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