Q&A with Michael Furci
Great column, although I have one little question I'd like to have answered. I've read your articles about "9 Weeks to Bigger Arms Part I, & Part II" and I plan to try it out but I don't really understand the training schedule.
First you write, weeks 1-3.
Then weeks 4-6.
And then again weeks 4-6.
Are you supposed to do the first part for three weeks, the second part for three weeks, and then the third part for about three weeks? Did I get it right? I might be stupid but I'm not sure I got it right. I would appreciate an answer either way.
Thanks from Par (Sweden)
A: Thanks Par,
So many people have read these articles and you're the first to let me know that it had a typo.
It should have read:
Weeks 7-9 (not 4-6)
(Editor's Note: This typo was fixed on June 24, 2003.)
Q: Good morning Michael,
I'm a 46-year-old male who is restarting his training program. I've been doing moderate lifting on and off for the last three years and have decided to rededicate myself. I realize I can't workout like I did when I was 35, so I don't expect to get the same results. I'm considering a program that has me working one body part per day with 15 minutes of cardio after each session (except leg day). I think this would give me ample time for recovery and I could still slip some cardio in. Is it feasible for a new 46-year-old?
Thanks for your question.
Building muscle, building strength and getting in shape are feasible starting at any age. The main difference as we get older is our ability to recover. So, you have to take a few more days off, big deal. Most people who train, over-train anyway and could use a few extra days off.
There are two components to training that are absolutely essential. One is recovery and the second is intensity.
To help ensure recovery from workout to workout the average person needs to take six to 10 days between training the same body part. For instance, if you're training chest on Monday, you wouldn't hit chest again until the following Sunday or Thursday.
Six or 10 days, which is it you ask? Taking your age and training experience into consideration, start at eight for at least four weeks, and as long as you continue to make progress do not change it. However, if you hit a plateau, add one day of rest. Stay with seven days unless you stop making progress, and so on.
If you stop making progress, which is a lack of recovery, you need to take more time off. Also keep in mind that when you train a specific body part you are still stressing the entire body, especially the nervous system, which takes more time to recover than muscle.
Another aspect of recovery you should keep in mind is keeping cortisol levels as low as possible. It takes between 24 and 48 hours for cortisol levels to return to normal after an intense training session. So how can you remedy this? Combine body parts and workout every other day. But how do you know what workouts are best for you?
In order for you to see what workouts work and which ones do not it is essential that you use a training log. You must constantly track your successes as well as your failures.
Record your daily workouts. Record your food intake and dietary habits. Also include how you felt on a particular day. Include how you felt during your workout. You must keep records of what works for you and what doesn't. There are guidelines for working out and proper nutrition, but each body responds differently. You need to track what works for you, and what doesn't.
It's not easy. There is no magic pill. There is no workout machine. There is no special herb or anything to make this an easy task.
Try this training schedule and let me know how it's going in a couple of months:
Day 1. Chest and triceps
Day 2. Off
Day 3. Back & shoulders
Day 4. Off
Day 5. Biceps, calves & abs
Day 6. Off
Day 7. Quads & Hams
Day 8. Off
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