Combining Metabolic and Tension Training – Q&A

Question: Lyle, I’ve been reading up on your articles covering the pathways of muscle growth while dieting to gain mass, as well as, when dieting to lose fat. With that being said I have some questions on what to do during dieting for fat loss. In some of your articles you’ve said that the tension pathway is the best for gaining or maintaining strength with a rep range between 30-60 reps per muscle group. Also in another article over training while dieting to lose you talked about using the metabolic pathway in order to deplete glycogen and increase metabolic rate, but that it is not the best for maintaining mass. You also talked about combining the two pathways on different days of the week or different body parts on the same day (1 muscle tension/other muscle metabolic). SO my question is can you do heavy tension training and metabolic training of the same muscle group on the same day? Also is the rep range for the metabolic pathway the same 30-60 rep range per muscle group? Or is there an increas e rep range? Sorry if I’m asking a question that you have already answered, if so then please direct me to the article. Thanks

Answer: Ok, the above is a little bit all over the place so let me see if I can de-all over the place it.  The question is sort of jumping from mass gains and dieting which aren’t the same.  Let me get dieting out of the way.  In these two articles I looked at metabolic and tension training, roughly heavy work in the 6-12 repetition range vs. high reps in terms of what should be done on a diet.  Basically I was addressing a very old (and mainly steroid-driven) idea that switching exclusively to high reps and short rests on a diet is not optimal for a natural lifter.

Take away the tension stimulus and muscles go bye-bye unless you have steroids to protect against it.  The only exception being beginners for whom most gains are neural, there is no increased muscle mass to lose and glycogen depletion may be beneficial to enhance whole-body fat burning during dieting.  Which isn’t to say that depletion work doesn’t have it’s place in addition to tension work on a diet.  But the goal is less fatigue and more

  • Glycogen Depletion
  • A Hormonal Response to Mobilize Fat (increased SNS output)
  • Probably Something Else I Mentioned in the Articles but Forget