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GPP Conditioning
As an amateur bodybuilder I've always got my eyes on my next contest. This means that year round I'm preparing to bring the best possible version of myself to the stage when the time comes. In the coldness of winter this means that my goals are putting on as much mass as possible before I start my precontest cutting diet in the spring. Admittedly, I've become somewhat of a perfectionist. The way I see things, I'm always on some sort of precontest diet. This 24/7 commitment is not only what's required in any venture when you're determined to bring your absolute best to it, but holding myself accountable to constantly be the best that I can be is what appeals to me about bodybuilding most. It's because of all this that I've always got my next contest in my sights, and it's because of this focus that keeping a favorable body composition year round is a big priority for me. As any of your who've checked out my profile here on the APW Blog will know, I used to be overweight. In my transition I learned how to cut fat pretty well, however, I'm also super weary that I don't work myself into a position where I'm attempting to cut my bodyfat from say 15% down to Contest standards of leanness in a matter of weeks before a competition. To maintain a relatively lean body composition and a generally high level of cardiovascular fitness all year I make GPP Conditioning a serious priority in my training. GPP or General Physical Preparedness has become quite the buzz word in the fitness industry recently, especially with all the re-branding that movements like Crossfit have gotten into. Simply put, GPP is an athlete's ability to perform all different types of tasks, to do lots of work and recover from it quickly. Bodybuilding veteran Dave Draper wrote a pretty informative piece on the history of GPP here: http://davedraper.com/blog/2006/11/01/what-is-gpp/. My take on GPP work is that it should be some sort of loaded cardiovascular conditioning which challenges your capacity to recover. It's pretty vital to me, since I'm trying to GROW, that I make sure not to stack GPP workouts on the same days as my weightlifting. While GPP is important to me it definitely takes a back seat to my weight training. I also design all of these workouts to revolve around High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This sort of High Intensity training in which you cycle through bouts of high intensity (95-100% of maximum effort) work followed by low intensity “rest” periods have been proven to increase a whole host of fitness markers much more efficiently than traditional endurance cardio. In a recent study from Mcmasters University in Canada (http://bit.ly/zlrUkw), Interval training even showed participants from the HIIT group who exercised 2.5hour/week to show similar exercise performance adaptations to an endurance cardio group who exercised for 10hours/week. Basically this means you can mak e the same progress in literally ¼ of the time! As with any other workout nutrition is key in building on it's effectiveness. You wanna keep in mind that you're expending calories here, which means that if you're trying to grow then you're gonna want to replace them! Your metabolism is also supercharged following these interval workouts so it's a great time to take advantage of it with some APW 100% Whey Isolate or even a carb rich American Pure Whey Sizer XXL shake to replenish your glycogen stores and floow your muscles with the bilding blocks they need to grow! Here's a few examples of my GPP workouts: HILL SPRINTS: This is the simplest GPP workout since all it requires is a hill and you! Basically find yourself a challenging hill and sprint up it. I prefer to run mine on grassy hills so I use a set of cleats to make sure I don't slip but they can be preformed just as easily on a steep paved hill. Hill sprints are natural interval work since after you sprint up the hill you have to walk back down which makes a nice “rest” period. Once you get to the bottom: Wash, rinse, repeat! I would recommend starting with 10 hills and increasing from there. I like to limit my hill sprint workouts to around 30minutes so I generally stop at around 30 hills. TIRE WORK: This GPP workout involves a sledge hammer and an unnecessarily large tire. I tend to do these in TABATA intervals (4 minutes of 20 seconds of High Intensity work periods followed 10 seconds of rest). Basically you want to hit the tire with the sledge as many times as possible in the 20 second work period then rest for the following ten seconds, then repeat. You can also work tire flips in for work periods. WEIGHT SLED PUSHES: This workout is done with a weight sled of some sort. I usually run these in either TABATA rounds or 10 minutes of 30/30's (30seconds work, 30seconds rest). You can add weight to the sled to make it more challenging for slow pushes or lighten the load and push it for sprints. I also like to go to a local sports field and work the football sled in for some of these workouts. so there you have it, my GPP conditioning work. I also wanna throw it out there that there are some great apps for your smartphone that can time these intervals for you which can be a lot better than trying to watch a clock while you're pushing yourself. Until next time, GET RIPPED!
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