Niagara Gazette

August 5, 2012

FIT FOR LIFE: Building muscle -- quicker and better

By Chris Tybor
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — I am proud to say that this week’s column is based on cutting-edge research, some which has not yet even been published.

I had the honor of attending a seminar a few weeks ago in Tampa, Fla. with one of my employees. This article is possible due to great work from Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jacob Wilson, and their awesome Exercise Science Lab at the University Of Tampa.

For the most part, everyone wants more muscle. They just word it differently. All of the following are statements describing the desire for more muscle:

I want to TONE

(well, you cant flex/contract Fat, so more muscle = more “tone”)

“I wish my arms didn’t keep waving after I stop.” Or the “Italian Wave” aka Bingo Arms …

I wish my butt had a “shelf”…

Why do my thighs touch?

How come the groceries, laundry, yard work are so heavy/difficult?

All of the above statements — not to mention how to minimize the growing national debt — can be answered by having more muscle.

From previous articles, you should remember some people make progress in spite of what they do. What if we could make that progress more faster and more efficient?

When it comes to cardio, most people think more is better — do more cardio, go longer, take more classes, ride your bike further etc.

But have you ever thought how cardio affects your muscle gain/tone/bingo arms. At a recent fitness seminar in Tampa, we learned that interval training is the way to go for the most efficient “cardio” workout in terms of burning body fat. According to this new, ground-breaking research, cardio training directly after your weight training session will lead to a decrease in strength, hypertrophy (size) and power!

So why does cardio negatively affect our strength/size power? Without giving a 33-page Powerpoint presentation, basically our bodies have an infinite ability to recover and long duration exercises train the nervous system to recruit muscle fibers more slowly: which is not ideal as you try to get stronger/more explosive/faster etc.

So the ways we will maximize our recovery/minimize stress (other than our weight training) will be by:

Doing intervals

Keeping intensity high and duration short 20-30 minutes max

Try to separate your cardio and strength training by 24 hours

Minimize running, which will cause the most tissue damage, which can lead to over training.

Cycling/biking is suggested as these movements most closely resemble a squat, and have a better carry over effect.

What if you have to train on the same day? If at all possible, try to separate the two workouts into AM & PM sessions. If that’s not possible, train with weights first, then do your cardio. Pay attention to your pre- and post-workout nutrition as discussed in previous articles.

Please remember the above tips. Don’t get caught up in the same school of thought and ignoring science and studies that were done on humans in a controlled laboratory setting. Through the years, I have progressed and changed my way of thinking as a trainer and coach. This was done because I have seen results in the gym with various techniques/strategies and I have expanded my knowledge by continuing my education and attending seminars such as this most recent one.

This article is possible due to great work from Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Jacob Wilson, and their awesome Exercise Science lab at The University Of Tampa.

I plan on covering blood flow restriction training as well as optimal protein intake in upcoming articles. If you have any topics you would like to see covered in future articles please email me through our website at

Chris Tybor is owner of Chrisfit in Niagara Falls. He was the personal trainer who recently helped former Niagara Gazette city editor Rick Forgione lose 100 pounds. Forgione wrote a year-long column on the process available at