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How I Failed You.

posted on January 9, 2023

I was a columnist writing for elitefts.com for about a decade. During this time I wrote a column monthly covering topics surrounding strength and conditioning. I am proud of the writing that I had done and it was an honor to share what I had learned from my years as a coach. One article I wrote that I often think about what entitled, “Know YA.” YA stood for Your Audience. Since coming over to Union Fitness I have struggled to understand our audience.


Who makes up Union Fitness?


When people ask me what I do for a living I say I run the worlds most unique gym. We have at any time 30-100 competitive lifters, we have over 100 people taking classes and growing through class, we have around 50 people doing personal training. We also have people who come here just to use a treadmill or do some basic lifting. On top of all of this we oversee the training of more than 400 collegiate student athletes. This means we are diverse, and we have diverse goals. With this in mind I have done some soul searching and figured out one way that I have failed each and everyone of you. I have not given the basics of training in a form that could help you.


Today I will try to not fail you with a list of things you should know about training. Here are some basics that I hope helps you.

  1.  3500 calories equals one pound. So if you want to gain one pound you must find an extra 3500 calories and if you want to lose a pound then you have to find a way to burn 3500 calories.
  2. The human body has three energy systems. The first is ATP/PC and is for sprinting and lifting (it lasts about 7 seconds of all out effort). The second is glycolysis this is sets of 20 reps and running a 400 meter sprint (this can last for almost a minute and this is the one that burns). The final energy system is aerobic, this is when the body is functioning smoothly (sleep is 100% aerobic).
  3. A calorie is not a calorie. Remember 3500 calories is a pound. Here’s the rub, if I eat 100 calories of celery and you eat 100 calories of donut then we will each have a very different outcome. The thermogenic effect of food is huge. Celery will use a lot of energy to breakdown, whereas the donut has very little thermogenic effect. In basic terms this means you get 100 calories from a donut and 50 from the celery (those numbers are not factual, yet you get the idea).
  4. Muscle burns more calories daily than fat does. This is simple and often stated with some random number assigned to each. I can tell you there is not magic formula. Just remember muscle=good.
  5. Water is the single best supplement. The human body is made up of mostly water. Dehydration affects our ability to burn fat, it also affects more processes than I could list here. Remember that drink your 8 glasses of water rule, well it was a made up number. Even knowing that it is a fictional number I still recommend it, as it can’t hurt.
  6. 10,000 steps a day is another made up number. So what! The rule of thumb is still this, walk more!
  7. Whatever your goals are there are only two things that matter. First is progressive overload, do more, better, faster than last time. Second is SAID principle, Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This is simple, the body will adapt to the demand placed upon it so make it specific to your goals.
  8. Last one! Set point theory. If you weighed the same amount for a long time then yes it will be harder to change that number. The body gets comfortable and finds its equilibrium when you have stayed at a consistent weight. This means that if you want to make a change you may need to make a drastic change in order to see the scale move up or down.


I hope this helps each and everyone of you with some basics of training, health, and generally being better.


Todd Hamer



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