Some people say you have to train calves every day because this muscle group is so stubborn. Is this right? This continues to be a popular myth in bodybuilding. The basis for it
seems to be that the calves have a higher proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers than the rest of the muscles in the body, and as a result it is necessary to train them more
frequently. Unfortunately, this theory has no scientific basis.
While it's true that the calves do have more slow-twitch fibers (the exact proportion of slow- to fast-twitch varies greatly among individuals), the reasoning that this somehow
requires more frequent training is fundamentally flawed.
For starters, slow-twitch fibers are not activated to a great degree during anaerobic activities like weight training. This type of fiber is recruited by and large during
lower-intensity aerobic activities such as running and bicycling. (You've no doubt seen marathon runners and bikers who have great calves but not much else in terms of muscular
development.) It's the fast-twitch fibers that are predominantly brought into play by weight training, and these fibers react in the same way hat fast-twitch fibers respond in
the rest of he body.
The way to achieve luge calves is to train hem just the way you train every other body-part-with heavy weight in an intense yet relatively short work-out. Since the calves
contract all the time when you walk and :limb stairs, they can 3e more resistant to raining than other Darts of the body. The answer, however, is to pile on the weight-not do
large numbers of sets and certainly not to :rain calves every day to that they never have time to recover from :he exercise-induced damage and grow. Your calves will grow if you
force them to with heavy weights. The best way to do this is to train them once per exercise cycle, just as you train all the muscles.
Can stress actually hurt my training?
Excessive stress can impact your training in several ways. One of the main ways it can hurt you is by reducing your secretion of human growth hormone, or hGH.
Under normal circumstances exercise results in high levels of hGH being released, which allows the muscle fibers to synthesize the proteins necessary for hypertrophy. The greater
the exercise intensity, the more growth hormone is released. It also appears that varying the overall intensity and the specific exercises in your natural training routine can keep
the pituitary sensitive to the adaptive stresses of exercise, stimulating even greater hGH release.
Too much anxiety and psychological stress can be counterproductive to growth hormone release, however. The second greatest amount of hGH release occurs during the first 45 to 90
minutes of sleep, with smaller, pulsating peak releases at 90-minute intervals after that. Yet the quality of sleep can impact these release rates, since frequent waking disturbs
the body's hormonal patterns. This often occurs when you're stressed out.
Stress can also influence your immune system. Numerous medical studies have shown that excessive levels of stress and anxiety can actually lower the body's resistance, making it
more susceptible to illness. Since many natural bodybuilders push themselves so hard that they're constantly "on the edge" as far as their resistance is concerned, adding in the
stress factor can be enough to give you a cold or something worse. And you aren't going to grow while you're sick. In fact, you'll likely lose all your strength, so you'll have to
start all over when you get back to the gym. Talk about frustration!
It's easy to tell others that they shouldn't let things bother them, but things are a lot more difficult when you're the one who's stressed out. Whether it's the loss of a job or
a girlfriend or even life's petty hassles that just seem to keep piling up, stress can be a major burden. It is controllable, however.
Remember that it's how you react to that stressful situation that's important. You don't have to let the stress build up to the point where you think that your life is falling apart.
Talk your problems over with friends, or meditate for a while. Just relax and realize that you will get through this. Focus on the positive aspects of your life-like the ever-increasing
muscle mass you're achieving with your natural-training program. Remember, too, that stress hurts your workouts, and learn to maximize your bodybuilding goals by minimizing your stress
You have a choice
: You can be stressed out or buffed out. Which do you want? I knew you'd say that. Now, go for it!