At my training studio, people know me as the natural bodybuilding & fitness guy. In other words, they know I compete in these types of competitions, and I like to train fitness athletes — men and women whose primary reason for exercising is to change their body composition (drop fat, gain muscle, or both). We have the endurance athlete guy, the corrective exercise guy, the sport performance guy, the yoga guy, all with their own areas of specialty and training focus. Mine just happens to be body composition transformation.
As the bodybuilding guy, most of my training tends to focus on basic bodybuilding principles — body part splits, basic bodybuilding exercises (squats, rows, dumbbell presses, etc.), multiple exercise and sets per body part, rest between sets, etc. Clients and friends will often ask what I think about other modes of training — things like bootcamp training, full-body corrective exercise, crossfit, P90x, and the list goes on. My answer is it depends on your goals.
If your primary reason for training is to change your body composition, than I feel that basic bodybuilding & fitness type workouts are superior to any other mode of training. If I didn’t, I would be training a different way. I would also be training my clients a different way. If I truly thought Crossfit or Bootcamp was the best way to maximize body composition, that’s the type of coach I would be. But too much research and anecdotal evidence points to bodybuilding-style workouts as the best way to gain lean muscle and slash body fat. After all, why do you think bodybuilders train like bodybuilders? Cause it works! That’s why I’m a bodybuilding-style trainer.
Do I think other modes of training are worthless? Absolutely not, just different, and maybe better for other types of training goals. Corrective exercise can help improve your posture and alignment. Bootcamp and Crossfit workouts can better prepare you for sport performance.
What you have to do is really think about your goals. If it’s to rehabilitate an injury, run faster, or improve in a sport, you might want to think of an alternative form of training. But if your primary goal is to change your body composition, than I believe bodybuilding/fitness-style workouts are the best way to go.
I’ve added a new article this week that goes further into this topic and lays out some of the barebones training principles for body composition transformation. Next time I’ll post a sample workout.