Q&A: THE EFFICACY AND EFFICIENCY OF RESISTANCE BAND TRAINING - Undersun Fitness Q&A: THE EFFICACY AND EFFICIENCY OF RESISTANCE BAND TRAINING

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Q&A: THE EFFICACY AND EFFICIENCY OF RESISTANCE BAND TRAINING

Q&A: THE EFFICACY AND EFFICIENCY OF RESISTANCE BAND TRAINING

UNDERSUN Fitness Founder and Chief Fitness Officer, James Grage, answers popular questions about Fitness Overall, Resistance Band Training and Nutrition.


LISTEN ABOVE OR CHECK OUT THE VIDEO (WITH TRANSCRIPT) BELOW TO LEARN:

  • What's Better: Weight and Resistance Bands OR Just Bands?
  • When is the best time of day to train?
  • Why you may not be seeing gains and what to do about it
  • What is occlusion training and should you be doing it?
  • What's better for beginners? A full-body workout or a muscle-building split?
  • How to get a taste of TA2 Programs before you buy
  • What is the optimal amount of rest time between sets?
  • Common training mistakes and how to fix them 
  • And More! 

James Grage: Welcome to another episode of the Under the Sun podcast where we talk about everything under the sun when it comes to fitness training, nutrition, motivation. Always, of course, talking a lot about resistance band training, which is the way that I personally like to train, but goes far beyond that too.

I think most of the stuff relates to any style of training.  Whether you're still in the gym, weight training, et cetera. Speaking of which, one of the things that I've been getting hit up with a lot is this question of how effective our resistance bands really in relation to say traditional training, like free weights or machines, et cetera. And it's interesting because as much as I've been focused on all of the peripheral benefits of resistance band training, which is this freedom to take them anywhere so you can take them when you travel, you can work outdoors, you can train at home and there's this time efficiency.

James Grage: So instead of having to drive to the gym, drive back, et cetera, that's time wasted. It's a way to create time by being able to just grab them and work out wherever you are whenever you want. But those are all peripheral benefits. And I think the one thing that it's important for me to note is that it didn't start off that way.

It didn't start as me saying, "Hey, this is why I want to train with bands". My primary reason is that they are an effective means of training. I always tell people that I've been training for over 25 years, but I actually had to kind of fact-check there. And I realize that next year we'll actually be 30 years of training. So this is my 29th year of training. And out of that entire time, I've always taken it very seriously.

James Grage: And so when people ask me about the effectiveness of resistance bands, I say, "Well, out of all those years of training and being very serious about it and serious about my fitness goals, do you think that I would train a way that's not effective"?

And for anyone who knows me, the obvious answer is no. I'm never going to do something just because I think it's gimmicky or cool, I'm going to do it because it works. And so it's easy to lose sight of that though. Because I look at, I look at something gimmicky things that are out there, all the different infomercials you see, et cetera. And some of these I roll my eyes at and then it made me realize that there's probably a group of people out there that think that way about bands. They think that I'm just out there promoting them because it's just another thing to sell.

James Grage: And I'm trying to convince people that this is a great way of working out when in fact it actually started the other way. It started with me training with resistance bands for a long time, for over 10 years, and incorporating them with my weight training and then eventually making that leap of faith and training only with bands.

And so September marks two years of training that way. But well before I ever started Undersun, or even the idea of Undersun, of making my own bands and creating these programs, it started with me training this way and putting this content out on YouTube saying, "Hey, I think this is cool, so let me share it with other people". So I think it is just important to throw out there, because again, all those other peripheral benefits don't matter if something doesn't work, but resistance band training works.

James Grage: It is highly effective. And I really believe that you're going to see over the next year, two years, you're going to see it blow up. You're going to see all of a sudden people going from skeptical to embracing it, and then it's just going to be one of those things that everybody's talking about and everyone's doing. And that's why the skepticism doesn't bother me because one, I get it. I understand. I understand that it's easy to be skeptical of something new, but, that's one reason that doesn't bother me.

The other reason is I know what the future holds and we're all gonna look back here shortly and we're going to laugh. And everyone who's listening to this podcast who's already using resistance bands is gonna laugh and you guys are going to be the leaders. You can be the ones who you know, jumped on at first.

James Grage: So anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. Would that be instead, I've got some questions here. We threw up something on social, on stories asked for different questions. So I've got those all here and so we're just going to jump into them one by one.

So these all happen to pertain to at least the beginning. Some of these are nutrition questions, so we'll jump into those at the end. But these are all about resistance bands training.

So the first one is, do you recommend weights and bands or just bands? I would say that it really just depends on where you're at. So I only train with bands. I don't train with weights at all. And like I said just a minute ago, it's been almost two years since I've picked up a weight. I was just even recently out in LA, and it's funny because I went into a Gold's gym of all places and a buddy of mine was training, he was doing arms.

James Grage: He said, "Hey, you want to jump in with us"? And I said, "You know, actually I'm pretty committed to just training with bands". So I went over there in the corner of the gym and just busted out all my exercises with bands.

And it was pretty funny because I was kind of getting some of those looks from across the gym. Like, okay, well that's cool. He's warming up or he's stretching whatever he's doing. And then pretty soon they realized that wasn't my warmup, that that's all I was doing. I, but that's all I do is band training and I can get the same results now just with bands that I could with free weights and bands or with free weights and machines.  Bands are just another tool, just like free weights are a tool, just like machines are just a tool. And depending on how you use them, if you use them the right way, you can get the same results.

James Grage: So I personally at this point in my life, only like band training. But with that being said, I spent a decade of training with weights plus bands and that was the intermediate step for me. That's what eventually built up my level of confidence in the effectiveness of bands. I got to baby step my way into it and try it out little by little.

So first it was exercises literally combining the two at the same time. Then I started combining them in the sense that I would do certain exercises or certain sets with only weights and then I would do certain exercises or sets with only bands. And then eventually it was like, "Okay, well now I have that confidence that I can go to bands only because I didn't see anyone out there doing it". There wasn't anyone that I was looking at and saying, "Yes, they train with the same level of intensity", or have the same expectations for their fitness goals that I do.

James Grage: And so I wasn't able to look toward someone else to build that confidence. So I had had to do it for myself. But with that being said, I am a big believer in training with free weights, with bands. If I were to ever go back to free weights, I would absolutely combine them with bands. And during that period of time when I trained that way, it was at that point in time, the strongest I'd ever been.  It started with core exercises like bench press, squat, mainly what you see powerlifters using bands with.

So it started with my primary movements, compound movements, and eventually I started combining them doing isolation exercises with them. So it really just depends on where you're at. If you still enjoy going to the gym, you still enjoy weights, then I would say use bands plus weights.

James Grage: If you really don't enjoy going to the gym anymore or don't have access to weights, then you can use just bands. But long story short, you can get the same results with either.

Moving on, do you train better in the mornings or evening?  Well, I've trained with both. It used to be that I trained in the evening because it just seemed to be more convenient for my schedule. Now I train in the morning and the reason is it's easier for my nutrition plan. And here's why I say that I'm a big believer in post-workout nutrition. That's when I actually get the majority of my carbs for the day. So I follow a nutrition strategy that is not low, low carb. It is definitely probably lower carb, meaning that I'm only consuming the number of carbohydrates that I'm depleting in a day.

James Grage: So our body actually holds onto glucose in the form of glycogen stored in our muscle and liver. And then when we're doing high-intensity exercise, we're depleting some of those stores. So I am replenishing my glycogen stores and I'm doing that post-workout. Now, if I were to work out in the evening, I probably would have to change my nutrition strategy because the last thing that I want to do is consume carbohydrates later in the evening. Matter of fact, as the day goes on, my meals get smaller towards the very end of the day and I start to eliminate carbohydrates as I go towards later in the day. Because remember at the end, I mean glucose is just a source of energy. That's all it is. And so most of the time our activity level drops off in the evening. We don't need all those extra calories. And my whole goal is to try to create a nice, efficient calorie-burning machine, so to speak, meaning that all fat is stored energy.

James Grage: So why would I want to encourage my body to store extra energy in the form of body fat? I'd rather taken the calories that I need and burn them as I need them. So that's the primary goal. So if you're taking in a lot of calories at the end of the day, especially carbohydrates, when you don't have a lot of activity at the very end of the day, well then there's a likely chance that your body's gonna end up storing that as body fat.

So my goal these days is an approach where I can still maintain lean muscle mass, build lean muscle fuel performance, but at the same time maintain a lean physique. So everything really is built around that, which I have a nutrition strategy. It's one that I'd been following for a while. It's been a work in progress through years of trying different training are different nutrition strategies.

James Grage: I've probably tried everything out there because I believe that you can't have an opinion about something until you've tried it. So I've done all sorts of intermittent fasting strategies. I've done low carb, I've done carb cycling, I've done Keto, you name it, I've tried it.

And so this is kind of the culmination of all the things that I like about different plans all combined into one, something that's sustainable, something that's a little easier to follow, something that you can make habitual because that's the key to longterm success is sustainability. Doesn't matter how well something works if it only works in the short term and you can't stick to it longterm. 

James Grage: Moving onto the next question, can anyone get lean and ripped using resistance band training? Well how about this: You can just as lean and ripped using resistance bands as you can any other forms of training.

With that being said, resistance bands, again, like I said earlier, are just a tool. So there's different ways to train with resistance bands. Just like there's different ways to train with weights. For example, on the Undersun website, there are two different training programs. One is called TA2 BODYSHOCK and one is called TA2 BUILD. Very different training styles, both using bands.

One is a traditional muscle-building program. It is a muscle-specific bodybuilding split. So it's a five-day split training, different body parts each day, with an emphasis on building muscle. The other is a total body workouts that you can do two to three days a week incorporating resistance band training into HIIT, high-intensity interval training.

James Grage: If your primary goal there is toning and fat loss. So both, again, using resistance bands, different ways of training. You can do the exact same thing with free weights. So when it comes to getting lean and ripped, of course, there are so many variables there outside of the way that you train or the tools that you're using to train.

It comes down to your nutrition plan. It comes down to how disciplined you are, how consistent you are, you know, how strict are you with your nutrition plan? How consistent are you with it? How hard do you work in the gym? Two people can follow the exact same training program in the exact same nutrition plan, barring other variables like genetics get totally different results just based on the amount of effort and consistency. So when it comes to band training versus free weights, yes. One versus the other, you can get the same results.

It's just gonna come down to those other variables. Next question. What do you do when you progress in gaining mass stops? Well, there are all sorts of different reasons why your gains will stop. The first thing that you're going to see is you're going to see your gains slowed down. So when you first start any kind of training program, whether it's bands or free weights, you're going to see your fastest gains in the very beginning. I think there's this expectation that that same rate of development is going to continue and that's not true. So you're going to see, an initial adaptation right away. In the beginning, especially in neurological adaptation, meaning your nervous system is going to get stronger. So even if you don't put on a lot of size initially, you're going to get stronger initially.

James Grage: But those first gains are the best and the easiest gains. From there on out, it starts to get slower and slower and harder and harder. Then you're going to reach a point where you reach your genetic potential and it's going to stop and everyone's genetic potential is different. But we all have that.

We all have a natural ceiling that you're going to hit. Like, I've hit mine, I cannot get any bigger than I am. Naturally. This is my limit and it doesn't matter how much food I eat. Well, no, that's not true. I could probably get a little bit bigger, but I'm going to put on a lot excess body fat and it's really not going to be lean muscle. So you know, but there reaches a point where I can't train any harder. I can't lift any heavier. There's nothing I can do to make myself bigger than I am now.

James Grage: Now, if I trained differently, let's say I train for strength, I could definitely get a little bit stronger than I am now, but even then, there's a genetic limitation on how strong you can get. So what do you do when your gains stop?

Well, the first thing you need to do is look at what may be causing it. Are you getting proper nutrition? Because I see a lot of people that train really hard in the gym that don't eat the way they need to eat. And eating is the hardest part. Training's easy. You go in and you train for an hour, an hour and a half tops. But if you're training for an hour and a half, that's too long. You can go in there and you can train your ass off. But if you're not fueling recovery and muscle building by eating the right way, the right macronutrient profile, the right total calories for the day, you're not going to be gaining the way you need to gain.

James Grage: If you're not resting, if you're not getting adequate sleep, you're not going to recover and you're not going to be able to maximize gains. So again, just like the conversation before, there's a lot of variables here. And again, going back to training, are you truly pushing yourself as hard as you need to push yourself?

The process of building muscle and going into the gym is, is really embracing being uncomfortable. You have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. So if you're not pushing yourself past your comfort zone, then you're not training hard enough because that's where muscle growth comes from. It comes from adaptation. It's pushing yourself beyond your current ability. So you really have to ask yourself, are you training hard enough. And that's one of the things when it comes to resistance band training, you have to push yourself just as hard as you would as if you were in the gym.

James Grage: Lifting weights. You have to have that same kind of intensity. You just can't go in there and go through the motions. You've got to really challenge yourself and up the ante with your intensity. So there's a lot of different variables. As I said, when it comes to why your gains have stopped, I've seen all sorts.

Usually at the end of the day year, if you haven't reached your genetic potential, then it's one of those other variables. But again, even based on genetics, everyone has a different genetic potential. You could have two people that could be the same height. They both could be guys five foot 10 they both could start weight training at the exact same time. They could train with the same, same nutrition plan and one guy is going to gain more muscle than the other, and that is where genetics comes in. You know, I'm not a big. I don't jump up and down and say, yeah, genetics, genetics, because frankly through the years I've always, I've always found that people want to dismiss another person's hard work with just genetics where these days now people want to dismiss it with steroids.

James Grage: Oh, well he's got more muscle than me because he does steroids. Not counting the fact that maybe that person is trained a whole lot longer than you, more consistent. Maybe even harder follow nutrition strategy, like everyone's so dismissive of another person's hard work. So lots of variables there.

Next question. What are your thoughts on occlusion training? How beneficial do you think it is? So for anyone who's not familiar with occlusion training, you've ever seen anyone in the gym taking: Any kind of strap or honestly, you could use anything. Use a bandanna and tie it around your upper arm, like Rambo style, that's occlusion training. So basically what you're doing is you are cutting off blood supply to a muscle and it's actually not blood supply to the muscle. It's actually restricting the amount of muscle or blood that can leave the muscles.

James Grage: So you've got your arteries, which are our bigger, a more powerful than veins. Arteries supply the blood into the muscle. And then arteries or sorry, veins are taking the blood out of the muscle. And so what ends up doing that restriction causes a pooling of blood inside the muscle. And so you ended up getting this, it's kinda like an almost an artificial way of creating a pump.

It's the same effect that you would get if you went in and trained with a lot of volume and just got this huge pump because what you're, what's happening there is basically what's called metabolic stress. All of that pooling of the blood and pooling of lactate in the muscle is a trigger for muscle building for protein synthesis. So, there are different ways, different triggers for building muscle. One of them is just mechanical tension basically, that resistance against the muscle the other way is metabolic stress.

James Grage: And so occlusion training is a way to trigger that without having to go in there and train with the same amount of volume. So basically it's kind of like a shortcut to getting a really good pump.

The science is there, it supports it. So do I believe that it works? Yeah, I believe that it works. Have I ever done it? No, I haven't. Because I don't feel that I need to.  Because I know that I can go in there and train with enough volume and intensity to get a big enough pump to get the same effect. So it's just another way of doing it. How about that? So, but it works. Yeah, based on the data that I've seen, it definitely works. In theory, it works. So, but what I don't like about it, honestly I just, I don't know what it is.

James Grage: It just seems gimmicky to me. I just don't like gimmicky things. But again, someone could say that about resistance bands. But, how to hit lower lats and upper lats with bands. Okay. Here's the thing. Now we have to one differentiate between different parts of your lats versus different parts of your back.

Because, when I was at the beginning of my training, I used to think, upper lats versus lower lats. Now I look at it and say, okay, there's just lots of different muscles in your back and depending on the look that you're trying to get different ways of training. So for example, if you want more width in your back, that's absolutely lats. If you want more detail like that thickness in your back that's coming from a lot of different muscles and especially coming from your trapezius. Now, most people think your traps just help you shrug your shoulders up.

James Grage: But they also pull your shoulders back and it's called the trapezius because it's a trapezoid shape. But actually, it looks like a big diamond and that goes all the way down to the middle of your back. And just like your lats, those muscle fibers run in different directions. And so that's why angles do come into play because a muscle is going to contract, let's call it, you can't separate a muscle.

In other words, you can't train the top of a muscle at the bottom of a muscle. It's like, the same thing with your biceps. You can't train, the very bottom of your biceps versus the top of your biceps. But what you can do is you can activate more muscle fibers. 

James Grage: So you have to think of your muscle, almost like a V eight engine. There are regulations on fuel economy, with a V eight engine. Now you pull up to a stop sign and it goes into fuel economy mode. And it shuts down four of the cylinders, right? Or it'll shut it off completely, but a lot of them will shut down.  Say four out of the eight cylinders for better fuel efficiency.

Think of a muscle almost the same way.  You have different bundles of fibers within your muscles. Each of those bundles is activated by separate nerves and so this allows us to do fine motor skills versus powerful movements. If it was like all or nothing, you just activated every single muscle fiber at the same time, you wouldn't have that ability to do some of those finer motor movements like say you're painting something, you know something that requires like more of a delicate movement versus a more powerful movement, like picking something up really heavy. So the goal is to activate as many muscle fibers as possible, especially at a peak contraction.

And this is why I'm always talking about peak contractions over and over and over, and it's your goal to maximize all of those muscles, like try to get all those muscle fibers to fire at the same time.

James Grage: Now when you're training a muscle like your lats, which has fibers running in different directions, matter of fact, you should go into Google and take a look at. A lot of times, you won't see it in a lot of the diagrams that you'll find on the internet, but if you can find one where you actually see the direction of the muscle fibers, you'll realize that it's almost fan, a fan-shaped, that those muscle fibers run in different directions. Now think of how muscle fibers work. They literally muscles work by shortening. So it is possible to focus more effort on a certain area of a muscle than others depending on the angle. So with that being said, you know, lats, I've never really found a difference between upper lads versus lower lats. Usually when people are talking about hitting more of their, uh, their upper lads, they're actually firing other muscles that they, at the same time, there's more of a focus there.

James Grage: But if you want to really work your lats, what I find is that when people say that, it means they really can't feel their lower lats. If you focus the right way and focus on good peak contractions, good squeezes versus moving a lot of weight, you'll end up feeling your lats. Lats are one of those muscles that is hard to develop that mind-muscle connection.  Because we're all trained the wrong way. 

Meaning that: think about lat pulldowns.  That's the most basic exercise when it comes to building your lats. We're told, "lift as heavy as you can and you see these crazy forms". So you see people rocking back and forth just generating a lot of momentum, heaving that weight back and forth. Now when you're doing that, you're not keeping good constant tension on the muscle and you're certainly not able to hold a peak contraction right at that peak.

James Grage: So there's no isometric squeeze. It's like you can barely get the weight through the concentric and then immediately that weight goes flying back. So there's no isometric, there's no eccentric.

So one of the best things is to go lighter and to really focus on a nice, slow, controlled concentric all the way down. Full range of motion. Really pull your shoulder blades back and down and feel that muscle. Squeeze it.

You're not gonna feel that same kind of peak contraction or burn in your lats that you feel in your arms and I call bullshit on. That just means that you're not using good enough form. You're trying to use too heavy of a weight and you're not able to use good discipline form and get that peak contraction and get that mind-muscle connection.

James Grage: So when I use bands, I get an awesome contraction. That's one of the things I love about it. People are like, "Well, why do you love bands so much? It's because of the contractions that I get, the way that I actually feel the muscle. I don't feel like I'm just going through the motions anymore. I feel like I'm working the muscle that I want to work as opposed to doing heavy lat pulldowns.

Most people, their forearms start to fatigue from gripping it. Their biceps start to fatigue because they're using so much arms to pull it down versus their lats that they feel they're before they ever feel it in their back. And that's the majority of people.

So for me, when it comes to training lats, focus on lighter weight, better form. Also think about using your hands like hooks from your elbow to your hand.

James Grage: It should just be a big giant hook and you should be pulling with your elbows, pulling your elbows down and back. And that right there is the trick to feel in your lats.

If you want to work now the upper part of your back, different movements again, you know, those are more of like high rows. Your elbows going out nice and wide. But I've got a lot of videos on it and you can check it out on YouTube even when I'm using free weights. Discuss all those different ways to target, within your back versus detail in your back and all the different movements. So kind of difficult to talk about on a podcast to get into that kind of nitty-gritty detail. So those videos are there for free for anyone to check out. Here's a good one. Full-body workouts versus split.

James Grage: So this is a really super common question and there's this misconception out there that beginners should be starting with a full-body workout versus doing a muscle building split. And I totally disagree with this.

The difference between the two really just comes down to your goal and the amount of time that you want to invest a full-body workout. That's something that you can do three days a week. You're going to hit every single muscle group, but you're not going to get enough total volume for any one exercise to maximize muscle growth. So let me break that down.

Let's say we're doing a muscle building split. Ideally, we want to get between 12 to 16 total sets per muscle group. So let's say that we're working back, we want 12 to 16 total sets. So what's that going to look like: That could be four exercises of three sets, right? 

James Grage: A piece, that would be 12 or we can do four exercises of four sets, that would be 16 and that's about the most you want, you don't really want anymore. Now you start doing too much volume and you will start to eventually overtrain.

By the way, you usually come from too much total volume over a period of time versus too heavy of a weight. I now let's compare that to a total body workout.

So let's say that we hit our primary muscle groups. So we hit shoulders, we hit back. And by the way, when I say shoulders, that doesn't even include getting into the breaking down front side versus rear. So let's just generalize and say we're going to do an exercise for shoulders, like a shoulder press. So shoulders, back, chest biceps, triceps, quads, hamstrings. That's not even getting into the smaller things like calves, et cetera.

James Grage: Well, let's just stop there. And let's say that's seven total body parts. Now again, to stick within a realistic timeframe of total sets to get to, let's say you did two exercises per body part, right? Or two sets, not two exercise, sorry, two sets. That right. There is 14 total sets in a workout and that's only with two sets of a single exercise per body part.

So you're looking at two sets per body part versus 16 or 12 to 16 and a muscle building split. So long story short, in order to maximize muscle growth, you just need more attention, more total volume per body part to maximize muscle growth and you're not going to get that in a total body workout. Now some people will do, if you want to do something that's a step in between, you can do an upper body versus lower body a split.

James Grage: And I see people get into like four days per week. So they'll do upper body twice a week. They'll do lower body twice a week and people ask me, well how do you feel about training body parts twice a week I would say then in that situation, so now all of a sudden you split it up, upper body versus lower body. So instead of a full-body workout where you're only getting two sets per body part, let's say that you double that and you get four sets or maybe even five sets, well that's still not as much as 12 to 16 but if you do it twice a week, now you're at 10 you know, maybe 12 total sets per body part in a given week. So again, total volume in a week you're still fine.

But going back to let's say a muscle-building split, doing a body part twice a week, if you're doing it 12 to 16 sets and then later in the week doing another 12 to 16 sets, it's unnecessary because you got to remember this all about recovery time, not just recovery time for that particular muscle group, but for your entire body.

James Grage: You know you're utilizing resources like shared resources. So it's not just recovery for that particular body part. Again, you're training other body parts throughout the week and your body's having to recover from all of that. So again, a finite amount of resources when it comes to recovery. So there's no sense in overtraining because eventually it just becomes counterproductive.

A next one, thoughts on 10 plus minute rest times. Does it provide optimal recovery or is it a waste of time? The only time I see really long rest times is in strength building programs. So remember there is a big difference between strength building versus muscle building. Two totally different ways of training. Two totally different goals.

In strength train, you will see less total reps per set so lower. So you're seeing anywhere, I mean, well sometimes their training even for two reps a high site it's usually up to about six reps.

James Grage: And then I'm seeing more rest time between sets for maximum recovery to go in there and lift maximally again. Now with bodybuilding, it goes back to that metabolic stress that we talked about where we're trying to go ahead and we're trying to get enough volume in their eye and minimize our rest time to go ahead and increase that pump, drive the blood into the muscle. You gain that build-up of lactate and that becomes an anabolic trigger.

So 10 minute rest times fine for strength building, not for muscle building. You want to stick to shorter rest times. Now if your goal is to get your strength training in and also burn more calories than you can shorten your rest time even more. And then weight training becomes high-intensity interval training because weight training is high-intensity exercise. You're going into anaerobic metabolism, meaning you are crossing the anaerobic threshold with your heart rate.

James Grage: You're not getting enough oxygen fast enough to do aerobic metabolism. So that is a high-intensity exercise. Now if you shorten your rest time, hit becomes like high-intensity interval training. You're going from one set short rest time and you're doing it again, so you're keeping your heart rate up and there's dropping down recovering and then you do it over and over.

So theoretically, you're actually burning fat at the same time as your weight training. So it just really just comes down to your goal. Is your goal to build more strength? Is your goal to build muscle? Or is your goal to build some muscle and lose, lose fat? And then the other factor, of course, is total workout time. Do you want to be in the gym for an hour and a half? Or you want to be in the gym for 45 minutes? Me personally, I don't have time to be in the gym an hour and a half anymore.

James Grage: Actually I don't have time to be in the gym at all. So I train with bands. Alright, so moving into, so those are general resistance band training questions.

Now we're moving into for anyone who's fallen in any of the TA2 programs, these are TA2 specific questions. A is your next set of workouts going to include free weights and bands? You know, I've gotten this question before and I've kind of dodged it because I didn't want to like give it away but I might as well just share it with you guys and let you know that. Yes. The next program does include free weights. And I'm very excited because I'm working on this program with a good friend of mine, someone who shares very, very similar training and nutrition philosophies. I and so yes, that is a program that we are working on that we'll be launching a, well first we're launching this nutrition plan, so that's in the next couple of weeks and then this will be the next program that we launch after that and why I'm excited about it even though I don't train with weights anymore.

James Grage: The reason I'm excited about this is I think that is giving people the opportunity to try bands the way that I tried them. So you don't have to take the leap of faith and say, okay, I'm going to quit weight training or I'm going to quit the gym.

This is a way to enhance your results, so to do what you're doing, which is weight training and just bring bands into the equation to enhance your results. So, very, very excited about that program. It's going to be pretty badass.

When will the new TA two tank tops be available online? So I think the one that everyone's talking about is one that I wear. It's a black shirt and it's got the super neon orange print on it. I custom made those here locally because as able to like be really picky with the printing to get the color that I wanted, and I've not been able to scale that yet to find a printer that will print that exact same color.

James Grage: With that being said, I just printed some recently. They're a grey tank top with the black TA2. They're simple, but they just look badass to me. Those I'm gonna make available soon and actually have a brand new hat that we went ahead and I mocked some of those up, but I took those out to LA and everyone loved him. So we went ahead and we're launching that on the website.

So there will be some new apparel on there. And as far as those bright orange ones, as soon as I find someone who can do it, so the standard that I want, then we'll launch those on the site. All right.

What is Tabata? So Tabata is something that you will find in the TA2 BODYSHICK program. And what BODYSHOCK is, it's a high-intensity interval training or, a HIIT program using resistance bands.

James Grage: Now a lot of HIIT programs out there are, the primary focus is to lose fat. So everything is very cardio driven, so to speak. And so there's a lot of total body movements. You see people doing burpees and jumping jacks and different things to get their heart rate up. But there's, most of the programs I see are all the programs I see, doesn't mean they're all that way.

I just haven't found one. I haven't seen any of them that focus on a total body workout with resistance training. So focusing on all the major muscle groups per workout. So TA2 BODYSHOCK is a total body workout. You can do it two, three times a week. I really wouldn't recommend it more than three times a week. I think eventually you'd start to fatigue.

James Grage: You have to be careful with any kind of HIIT training because it is high-intensity exercise, and therefore requires adequate recovery. But there are different types of HIIT.

And Tabata is just a different type of HIIT. And so traditionally it is 20-second intervals of high-intensity exercise with 10 seconds of rest. So why so short? Well, the idea behind it is that the intensity needs to be even higher, but since it's only so short, 20 seconds, you can sustain that. So if you are doing the right, let's call it "adequate intensity" for Tabata, you wouldn't be able to do it much longer than 20 seconds.

So the idea there is really kicking your own ass during that 20 seconds. So that's what tabatas are. Just another form of HIIT training, just shorter rounds, but higher intensity. Where can I get a taste of what the TA2 BODYSHOCK and BUILD programs consist of before purchasing?

James Grage: So we do have that online on the Undersun fitness website. There are some, some free exercises, different things available on there and also probably one of the easiest things is following us on social.

So on the Undersun Fitness Instagram account or the Undersun YouTube channel, as well as my personal channels, I put those out there a lot. So I've done recently done some of the BODYSHOCK programs on a Saturday and I'll post the whole thing on there. Same thing with BUILD. There's plenty of content both on my YouTube channel and the Undersun channel. There's a full-body workout, there was one that I did which was just one exercise per body part. It's kind of cool cause I did it on a paddleboard just to prove a point that you can do it anywhere, but I, there's back workouts on their chest workouts.

James Grage: So if you want to get a kind of a taste of my training style, then check out the YouTube content and then if you want the full programs then that's where you'd come in. You could actually purchase the full thing, but you can definitely get a taste of it just by going and looking at some of the free content that we have out there.

And here we go. Last question. This is diving into or two questions. These are nutrition questions. How do I gain weight with a healthy diet while staying lean? Well, wow! You just asked the magic question. It's almost like I planned this, but I didn't. That is what the whole basis of the program that I follow is, which is, you know, it's easier said than done. Everyone wants to know how do I put on muscle and stay lean at the same time, very challenging because they're two totally different States.

James Grage: One, a muscle building state is considered a surplus state. It's an anabolic environment where you have more calories than you need. That's what makes it a surplus state. And the other is a deficit state. And that is where you are restricting a certain amount of calories to go ahead and promote fat loss. Now, of course, there are other variables as well, like your amount of carbohydrates as it pertains to blood sugar levels.

And therefore insulin levels A: You eat a lot of carbohydrates, you're going to end up raising your insulin levels, which blocks life policies, meaning blocks your body's ability to burn fat as a source of fuel. And that is the primary reason why low carb diets or keto diets really are effective. So everything that this new nutrition strategy they were launched on the website is based on this. It's how to build lean muscle.

James Grage: So how do you put on muscle without putting on excess body fat? Because traditional bulking programs where you have an excess amount of calories, you'll put on a lot of muscle, but as a byproduct, it's easy to also accidentally put on a lot of unwanted body fat. And then you end up going through this process of bulking and then having to cut. And in the process of cutting, you ended up losing some of your lean muscle gains.

So how do you take a more steady approach? How do you eliminate the highs and lows And that's the basis of this program? So, without giving it all away, just keep an eye out here over the next couple of weeks, the program is called TA2 LEAN BUILD. And that is exactly what it is. It is a lean muscle building program. And then here is our final question today, which is what are your thoughts on meal prep?

James Grage: So I've got mixed feelings on meal prep and it just really comes down to what your goals are, and how much time and energy you want to put into something. So for someone who has a very, very specific goal, let's say that you want to compete or you want to step on a bodybuilding stage, well that requires an extreme level of commitment and discipline and effort that goes into that. And you're going to have to really learn to dial things in.

You don't just accidentally get in shape, you don't just kind of follow the nutrition plan and get that shredded doesn't happen that way. It requires a lot of little minor adjustments and being very disciplined in your process. Almost like a very scientific mindset of making little micro-adjustments as you go along to dial in your physique. So with that being said, it does require 1: figuring out what your caloric needs are.

James Grage: Then of course, your macro split. Then it comes in busting out the scale and the measuring cups, etc. And tailoring your meals to your nutrition plan. And then the other aspect of it is if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And so where most people go wrong with their nutrition plan is they find themselves without something to eat and they're starving, and then they're just going to eat whatever's available. So if you plan ahead and you prep your meals, then you're always going to have the right food available. So there's something to be said for that. Now, if you're not competing in a show and you don't feel like measuring all your food, then there's a different way of doing it. And that's the way I built this nutrition plan. Someone can refine it and they could take this exact concept and really dial it in with measuring cups, et cetera.

James Grage: But, I created a way to do it that is much easier to do. And as far as meal prep, that's called leftovers, man. For dinner, a lot of times what Annik and I will do is just make extra portions of whatever that meal is and then put it in Tupperware and that's meal prep. So that's my version these days because I'm not, I'm not competing right now, don't have any plans of competing.

So I still want to have meals available because otherwise if I don't, I fall susceptible to the exact same thing. I get hungry and then I'm going to, you know, eat whatever I can eat. So you want to make sure that you plan and you have good meals available. But as far as how much you meal prep or to what degree really just comes down to how serious you are with your goal.

James Grage: For me, I just want to have a better balance. I want to be in shape, but I don't want to be a slave to the kitchen anymore. So I'm not doing extreme meal prepping. So it's kinda like everything else. It really just comes down to your goal. You know, how hard do you want to train How disciplined do you want to be with your nutrition? Well, it comes down to the results you want. Do you want extreme results? Then you better be extremely disciplined and put in the crazy work. If you want to just have a good balance, still requires a lot of effort, but it's not gonna be as a time consumptive and stressful. It's just like anything else. Do you want to build a small business? Okay, it's going to require a lot of effort and you gonna have to be disciplined.

James Grage: You want to build a really big business? Well, it's gonna take a ton of effort and it's, you know, that's more of an extreme, which requires more, more sacrifice. And it's just like anything else in life, the better the results you want more you have to put into it and the more you have to sacrifice to do that.

So that's it for now. That really covers it. I kinda throw out there, this concept that we've been talking about with the Facebook private group, which is for people who have purchased TA2 programs or UNDERSUN resistance band sets, private group where we can get in there and start doing Q and A's, which is something I'm excited about because here I am on a both Instagram and Facebook and I see questions coming in. But because we're in a podcast platform really doesn't give me the opportunity to go in there and answer questions.

James Grage: It's not, not really the right format, especially like I said, in a podcast platform. So the right format for that is a live Q and A. And so that is what the Facebook group is going to be for. So we're inviting people into that group and starting to build that up. And then I'll be able to go in there once a week and we'll be able to dive into different topics. Same thing we're doing here, but do it live, do it on the fly and you guys will be able to ask those questions as we're live.

So anyone who is on Instagram and Facebook right now, that a has sent in a question or a comment here, I apologize that I haven't been able to respond, but that's why, again, because this is going on iTunes and Spotify, et cetera, so kind of have to stick to that podcast platform. So that's it for now. I appreciate you guys tuning in and we will be back doing the exact same thing next Tuesday at 12:00 PM Eastern time. So I will see you guys there.

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