By Duke Nukem
There is an old bodybuilder cliché that goes, “There is no such thing as over-training – only under-eating.” There is a lot of truth in this old school concept and it ties into the fundamental Parrillo idea that nutrition is always (and forever) at the core of bodybuilding. Without disciplined nutrition there is no bodybuilding. Nutrition is skillfully used by elite bodybuilders to accelerate recovery, i.e. the amount of time needed for the body to normalize after intense physical training. Each week the true bodybuilder engages in two types of intense training: progressive resistance and aerobics. Recovery is only a problem if the bodybuilder trains hard enough in the weight room to trigger hypertrophic muscle growth and trains hard enough in their cardio efforts to mobilize and oxidize body fat. If you don’t train hard, then over-training will never be a problem. Overtraining occurs only in response to herculean physical effort. Over-training is very real for any bodybuilder that engages in a never-ending series of intense workouts done while the body is under-fed, under-rested and overstressed. Over-training and under-eating will drive the athlete deep down the black hole of true over tonus. The signs of real overtraining are many and apparent: first and foremost, when over-trained gains will cease. Another tipoff is when strength plummets, energy nosedives, and an overall feeling of tiredness and fatigue are ever-present.
One pro bodybuilder observed, “True overtraining makes your limbs feel heavy; just walking around it feels like you are walking through mud or concrete.” The over-trained under-fed bodybuilder is continually fatigued and will stay that way until they change the ratio of exercise to calories. Attention need also be paid to obtaining quality rest and reducing stress levels. The cures for over-training are numerous and widely known within the athletic community. The truly over-trained can accelerate the recovery process through a skillful combination of good nutrition, quality sleep and stress-free-living. Hydro therapy had been used for decades as recovery accelerator and hi-tech recovery tools are showing great promise. Dry heat, wet heat and water therapy of all types and kind have proven to be extremely effective. For the hard training bodybuilder, over-training is problematic and left untreated will derail progress. Hard training is critical, not optional. Without hard training there is insufficient stimulus for muscle growth and without hard training there can be no fat burning. In the Parrillo approach, nutrition is the first and best antidote for overtraining.
Recovery is critical: Ideally, a well-rested, well fed bodybuilder engages in a hardcore weight training session and because they do the right things the bodybuilder recovers quickly and completely and in time for the next hardcore weight training (or cardio) session. Before, during and after every workout, the savvy bodybuilder has a strategy designed to accelerate the healing and repair of his or her continually stressed body. By being well fed and well rested heading into the workout, the bodybuilder establishes anabolism, the optimal metabolic state. While anabolic, all the pre-conditions needed for muscle growth are present and accounted for. If while in this state of muscular fertility, the bodybuilder trains his body properly, new muscle tissue is constructed. After the workout, the intelligent bodybuilder begins executing a series of recuperative protocols, all designed to refuel, refit and bring the body back to hemostasis, normalcy. The race is to achieve normalcy before the next muscle building session. John Parrillo has been on the forefront of tactical recovery for decades. John had to be; he worked with competitive bodybuilders preparing them for competitions. Parrillo demanded his competitive athletes train extremely hard and train often and because of the overall volume of training, over-training is a very real problem. To be at their best, a competitive bodybuilder needs to weight train 5-6 times a week and they need to perform cardio every day and often twice a day in the final weeks leading up to a contest. John has worked with hundreds of bodybuilders prepping them for local, regional, national and international level competitions and had to develop a strategy that enabled his stable of bodybuilders to train as hard and long and often as needed. John Parrillo attacked the problem of recovery using a multitude of techniques and tactics.
Nutrition: in the Parrillo approach to bodybuilding, nutrition is always first and foremost. There is much truth to the cliché about there being no such thing as over training only under-eating. The absolute worst thing a bodybuilder can do (other than under-train) is to engage in body-crushing weight workouts compounded by copious cardio and then starve themselves. Novice bodybuilders routinely make this catastrophic mistake, mistakenly thinking that starving is the way to get ripped. In fact, if the bodybuilder cuts calories past a certain point, the body, sensing starvation will put the brakes on fat-burning and instead of oxidizing body fat will eat its own muscle tissue, stripping muscles from the inside out for their amino acid content. Starvation dieting triggers muscle cannibalism. This is the main reason that novice and intermediate bodybuilders cannot hang onto muscle mass in the lead up to a contest. The starvation dieter has zero energy and his muscles are ravaged. Meanwhile, despite living on 800-calores a day, week after week, fat stubbornly clings to lower abs, oblique muscles and the underarm pec region. The Parrillo approach establishes a multiple-meal eating schedule, cleans up the food selections and eats often and always eats clean. By implementing a multiple-meal eating schedule, by being selective in food choices, muscle can be built while fat is oxidized. Hard and constant training is “supported” by Parrillo-style nutrition. Over-training is defeated by upping the calories. Bodybuilders can consume a lot of calories and not add to fat stores if the calories consumed are pure and potent. Over-training that is the result of intense physical training (and insufficient calories) and can be corrected with attention to nutrition.
Insufficient rest: quality sleep obtained on a regular basis is critically important. During truly restful sleep, the body sets about healing and repairing itself. The body’s goal is always the same: regain hemostasis, normalcy. If trained properly (intensely) and fed properly (cleanly and amply) the next step in the growth equation is to obtain healing, restful sleep. Sleep is when the bulk of the recovery process occurs. Sleep quantity and sleep quality are two different things. A restless sleep is a waste of time; three hours of deep sleep is more than enough. The body will heal and regenerate, assuming the nutritional building blocks are available. John Parrillo noted that a goodly percentage of truly hard-training athletes fall asleep easily and deeply. He came up with a nutritional supplement stack that is aimed at recovery and best taken before a deep sleep. Enhanced GH Formula™ is combined with Parrillo Liver Amino Formula™ and the capsules and tablets are drank with a Parrillo Hi-Protein™ caseinate shake right before turning in for bed. This is a genius combination: the exhausted athlete drinks a delicious shake containing 33 grams of slow-release protein. Six liver tabs provide another 9 grams of high BV protein and blood-enriching heme iron. The liver tablets dissolve deep in the sleep cycle. The GH capsules aid in the release of growth hormone release and all during the sleep cycle protein is being released into the bloodstream. Expert use of nutritional supplementation stimulates growth and recovery and does so while the athlete is asleep. What a terrific way to grow while resting.
Hi-Tech restorative therapies, ancient and cutting-edge: water has been used for eons to restore battered bodies. The Finns and Russians jump into freezing rivers after boiling like lobsters in 300-degree saunas; the samurai warriors and zen masters would stand motionless under freezing waterfalls in February. NFL players sit in giant ice baths after two-a-day summer practice. Saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools have long been used by hard training athletes to soothe decimated muscles, improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Ice-baths have become the post-workout recovery tool of choice amongst elite professionals and nowadays hi-tech walk-in machines replicate the ice bath without ever having to get wet. Massage is another restorative technique that has been used for centuries. Professional massage experts can administer state-of-the-art deep-tissue massage that dislodges waste products and toxins. While often painful, those that use massage on a regular basis swear to its effectiveness. Pro teams usually have a fulltime massage expert on staff. John Parrillo did ground breaking work with his version of deep tissue massage: fascia stretching. Fascia stretching is a series of self-administered stretches that have an effect very similar to manual massage. Fascial planning is different from fascia stretching. John can manually loosen the fascia surrounding a muscle using his hands, knuckles and elbows. John once fascia-planned IFBB professional bodybuilder Paul Love and after 30-minutes of manual stretching, Love’s arm measurement grew from 19.75 (before fascia planning) to 21.25 30-minutes later.
Ride the razor’s edge: calories, lots of them, will make anyone anabolic. Calories induce anabolism. The problem is that while calories create anabolism, the wrong kind of calories will make you fat. Lifting weights and doing cardio are fantastic forms of exercise and done right will grow muscle, make you stronger and build endurance and stamina. You can build huge muscles and have great cardio and still be fat. There are numerous examples of professional baseball and football players that are extremely fat – yet extremely strong and athletic. The antidote to strong-fit-and-fat lies in cleaning up the food choices. Simple as that. The classic Parrillo Meal contains a portion of lean protein, a portion of fiber and another of starch. The Parrillo meal is the nutritional backbone of bodybuilding nutrition. John augments multiple food meals with powerful Parrillo supplements. The Parrillo supplement catalog is vast and varied. Every product grew out of a direct need; these products were bought into production to remedy a deficiency or deficit. Parrillo products were created to aide the bodybuilders, powerlifters, strength athletes, cyclists and serious fitness adherents in their quest to improve. Nothing accelerates recovery faster or more efficiently than a high calorie/clean calorie/high protein nutritional program – augmented by Parrillo supplements specifically selected to fill in “the gaps.”
Are you training hard enough for it to matter? With all the talk and chatter about over-training, you would think that everyone everywhere was engaging in Schwarzenegger-style six day a week, twice a day, double split routines on a routine basis. Over training is a direct result of training up to and past capacity (that is where the gains lie) and doing so on a regularly reoccurring basis. Engage in limit-exceeding lifting, add a Parrillo-style cardio regimen wherein the bodybuilder engages intense, sweaty aerobic sessions and couple this with a starvation diet and it is just a matter of time before the body goes catabolic, muscle gains grind to a halt and fat loss lows down. The starved, highly-trained bodybuilder’s body starts to break down under the strain. Injury lurks around every corner. He has two choices: reduce the training volume, reduce the intensity (and eliminate the gains) – or increase the calories. The Parrillo approach is to mash the accelerator to the floor in all aspects of your training: more training, harder, longer, more cardio, go faster and ride the razor. Underpin all the intense exercise with a high protein, high calorie, clean calorie Parrillo-style nutritional program and augment with potent Parrillo nutritional supplements. The best course of action is to train hard enough to induce over-training and then take in clean fuel to counteract the effects. Which supplements to take depends on the goal of the bodybuilder and their tastes and preferences. There is no such thing as overtraining? Clichés become clichés for a reason.