Tiffany Mitchell's last day training with me

Tiffany Mitchell's last day training with me before she is off to training camp for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA. She has been with me since October of 2017. 2 weeks before the 2017 season ended Tiff injured her knee in practice. It was a Micro-fracture of her Patella. Dr. Glenn Perry did the surgery, Chris Gabriel PT with OrthoCarolina did the rehab. A great team!!  The only weak-link was her strength and conditioning coach. Just tested her today. Body fat basically stayed the same from 13.1 to 12.7 yet her pounds of Muscle went up 9 pounds!
       What is great about Tiffany is that not only is she a great Basketball player (2 time SEC Player of the year for the Gamecocks of USC under Dawn Staley) she is a classy Lady. Her Faith and strong Character is like no other. Never missed a day of rehab or training with me. I have coached many an athlete in my time--from Middle School, High School, College and Professional Sports, but Tiff is one of the best all-round athletes I have ever worked with! Good luck my friend, we will miss you!!

       Watch Tiffany in these Videos below. I do a lot of Contrast Training with my athletes. Watch Tiff!!!!


LIKE I S.A.I.D. - (The SAID Principle)

I remember back in 1976 at Appalachian State University in Dr. Thomas’s Exercise

Science class. At that time I was totally into Body Building. Going to class, working and training, what a life, no responsibilities! Now back to Dr. Thomas and his exercise science class! That was over 40 years ago and I still remember him teaching the S.A.I.D. Principle. I love acronyms, they help me remember what groups of words mean, and the S.A.I.D. Principle means:

  • S – Specific
  • A – Adaptations (to)
  • I – Imposed
  • D – Demands

This applies to everyone, so my article should be of interest to all! It basically means that whatever demands you place on the body, it will transform and adapt to those demands.

But the key word here is “Specific.” In the strength & conditioning circles there is a saying, “mixed training gets mixed results.” So if one wants changes in the way they

physically appear, then specific adaptations have to be made in the areas of physical conditioning and nutrition. Again, the key word is “specific.” In other words, The S.A.I.D. principle describes that a specific exercise or type of training will produce adaptations specific to the activity performed and only in the muscles (and or energy systems) that are stressed by that particular activity.

Football is a sport that the average play only lasts about 3.5 seconds. So why run long distances when training for football such as we did when I played in the 1970’s? Distance runners are mostly lean with limited muscle because of the demands that distance runners put on their bodies. But football is a series of short sprints. And that is how they train (specifically) by running a series of short sprints with a lot of weight training mixed in, just

look at football players, they’re big and strong!

Let’s get away from sports and go to the real world. Let’s say you’re in our accounting department at Europa. You work with numbers all day, and do you know what you become good at if you work with numbers all day? You become good at numbers! Isn’t that amazing! It’s the demand that you put on the mind, and in return you become good at adding and subtracting! I’m not sure, however, that I would fit into that category!

Another example of the S.A.I.D. Principle; is Mrs. Diana Pietrzak of Europa’s Marketing Department. She trained and ate a certain way (specifically) for 16 long, grueling, weeks in preparation for her Figure Competition at this year’s Charlotte Europa Games in April. It took that long for her body to adapt and make the transformation that she wanted. And with all the hard and consistent work, her body did just that! It adapted and she took home a 2nd place title, with that being her very first show! This transformation didn’t happen overnight,

it was a slow process and Diana’s success was due to the fact that there was a specific plan as to what she was training for!

I see so many people in the gym that want to lose weight and they come to me for advice. They want me to prescribe a workout for what they want to accomplish. I always go back to the S.A.I.D. principle when writing up a program with each person’s goals in mind. A workout that is specific towards what they would like to achieve. If it’s losing body fat, I put in the workout plan and exercises that will burn lots of energy such as full body, multi-joint, exercises. This just stands to reason, the more energy burned during a particular movement, the more weight lost, of course the nutritional plan coincides with one’s desired look.

If the stress put on the body must be Specific to obtain the desired results, then what would be the optimal way for the athlete, bodybuilder or anyone else who wants to add some hard core muscle to their frame? If someone is going to spend an hour or so of their valuable time in the gym, then they should want, and even demand, to know the most efficient way to put on muscle! Yes, resistance training would be an easy answer to a very complex, million dollar question; however it goes much further than that! I basically could write forever on this subject but for this article I’ll keep it short and simple….well, I’ll try!

In my over 30 years of working with athletes, bodybuilders and the general public, there are 3 things that must be accomplished:

  1. Have a Plan
  2. Hard Work
  3. Be Consistent


All of these are so important, however having a plan centered around your exact goals are critical in obtaining maximal results. But remember, the plan must be specific to those goals and must be imposed so intensely that the body is forced into an adaptation that delivers a

desired result. Another key word that is often passed by is “Imposed.” Imposed in this context means forced upon. In other words, sometimes one must go through the hard work, sweat and pain that are being forced upon them in a particular training session. Expecting those adaptations to come easily and quickly is usually not going to happen. There is a saying that I have written on a board in my office which says, “Understand that there is a price to be paid for achieving anything of importance.” And that price usually comes with some very hard work and sacrifice involved.

And like I S.A.I.D. earlier, the Plan, as in any strategy to accomplish a given task, is of the upmost importance. I remember in my earlier bodybuilding days I had a workout partner (one of many I had in those days) that asked me if there was a better way to build muscle. I

started to laugh and then said “of course there is, I just like going about things to get to an objective the hard way!” I laughed then, but as I look back it was a very good and insightful question. What is the best way? Don’t we try to do that in everything one does in life, the best and most efficient way?

As for building muscle, (I could write a whole article/book on this one) research tells us that there must be an overload of at least 70% of your one rep max, which will stimulate hypertrophy. Research also tells us that when stimulating hypertrophy, there must be a point to where one goes to absolute muscular “failure” with every set of 10-12 reps. There are even some studies that suggest that one may use as little as 30% to stimulate the building of

muscle as long as one reaches the point of “failure” with every set! That’s how important going to muscular failure is! In other words, we can’t just rack the weight knowing we got our 10 reps when there was more in the tank, especially if that was your last or even next to last set.

Now we’re talking about hypertrophy, but what about using the S.A.I.D. Principle when dealing with absolute strength? Research tells us that training with moderate weight can also build strength. Even the Westside powerlifters train with sets of 12, 25 and even up to 50 reps, and for these guys and gals it’s all about creating strength. However, that may be only 15 to 20% of how they train. The very best way to get strong is to lift heavy and fast with at least 80% of your one rep max. Notice I said fast; I’ve heard it said time and time again “it’s hard to lift a heavy weight slow.” Lifting the weight fast but under control with no jerking also activates more muscle fiber.

The S.A.I.D. principle also comes into play with the type of muscle developed. The muscle will get bigger by using different types of reps and weight schemes. “Sarcoplasmic” hypertrophy is when there is an increase in volume or reps which stimulates the non- contractile muscle cell fluid which is call sarcoplasm. This fluid accounts for around 25-30% of the muscle’s size. Although the cross-sectional area of the muscle increases, the density of

the muscle does not. This type of hypertrophy is the result of high rep “bodybuilding type

training or even general fitness type workouts. However, on a side note, there is a time and place for even athletes to use high rep hypertrophy training in their periodization program.

The other type of muscle fiber that is developed is called “Myofibrillar” hypertrophy. This type of muscle increases because of the density of the muscle which is caused by much heavier weight and lower reps. Again, the Imposed demands even develop certain types of muscle fiber depending upon the type of stress that is placed on it. It gets very “specific”

doesn’t it?


I see ladies in the gym all the time doing light dumbbell work with plenty of high reps and they look very lean with their muscles very small. Why, because the demands placed upon the muscles are such that the hypertrophy is very minimal, yet the calories burned are high because of the continuous movement, aerobic work and the energy system that they are using. Once again, their bodies are changing because of the demands placed upon it. Their success also has a lot to do with following a good nutritional plan!

I said earlier in this article that an old saying in strength & conditioning is “mixed

training gets mixed results.” However, in CrossFit the objective is mixed results. One wants to be strong, powerful (the combination of strength & speed) and have one heck of an aerobic work capacity or threshold. The CrossFit community can Olympic lift but also can run a thousand miles. But just think how good they would be if they could just concentrate on one area of their fitness event but, again, that is not their goal. Being Specific in one area is the

key to one’s success, But, again, in the case for CrossFit, they desire to be their best in all events.

So the next time you would like to achieve a certain objective when it comes to fitness, make sure you are being specific when designing a plan to meet your specific goals! And like I S.A.I.D………………….



Strength & Conditioning, Wellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products


  1. Vladimir Zatsiorsky PhD. “The Science & Practice of Strength Training”
  2. Charles Poliquin, Modern Trends in Strength Training, Vol. 1 QFAC Bodybuilding, 2001
  3. Christian Thibaudeau, The Single Best Muscle Building Method, The New Science Of

Training to Failure



Now that the New Year is almost upon us, I’m sure that a lot of people will be turning their attention to the weight scale. That’s right, after the Thanksgiving feast and all the Christmas goodies, the unwanted pounds over that 4 week period have slowly crept their way back on and it seems the older we get, the harder it is to get those unwanted pounds off! So now of course you’re going to see a mega number of people at the local gyms and YMCA’s on January the 2nd as usual.

Now I won’t get into the number of people who will participate in a fitness program for 6-8 weeks then go back to their old habits. That will have to be another article. What I will discuss is something that I get asked a lot during the year and that is, “What’s better for losing weight, cardio or weight training?”

Now I’ve read numerous articles saying one or the other is better and I must admit that they all have valid scientific evidence to back up each claim. Not long ago a Duke University (GO DUKE FOOTBALL) study was published asking the same question. The authors came to the conclusion that cardio is best for reducing body fat while resistance training is best for increasing lean muscle mass----(oh really??).

Of course the media took the ball and ran with it to create headlines such as:

- Cardio burns more fat than weight training (CNN)
-  Aerobic (cardio) exercise is better for weight loss than resistance training (Chicago Tribune
-  Aerobic exercise beats weight training at Burning Belly Fat (Duke Health)

(These are just to name a few.)

One published report in which I’ll name in my references does a very good job of pointing out the weaknesses in the Duke study but also mentioned some of the strengths of the study as well. But for now let me get right to the heart of the matter and tell you my beliefs and what I think and even feel about this “chicken or the egg” question, (like the world is waiting to hear what I think)----but here goes.

I believe along with some research to help back me up and by seeing people workout with good antidotal evidence, that both combined together (which is called “concurrent training”) and done correctly can help one reach their weight loss needs and goals. Now the key words here are “done correctly” and a lot of training programs are simply not. Just look at the people you see walking on the treadmill day after day. Do these people ever change in their appearance??? A lot of people lift weights but just get bigger by putting on muscle, but with that may come extra body fat.

One must realize that it’s not just cardio or weight training—it’s all of the above plus good sound nutrition. Let’s take this conundrum one item at a time:

WEIGHT/RESISTANCE TRAINING: My favorite because it does so many positive things.
- 1st: It builds muscle and muscle is much more dense than fat. 1kg of muscle will take up less space than 1kg of fat-- so 5 pounds of fat is going to take up much more space than 5 pounds of muscle. That’s why so many people come to me and say, “I haven’t lost any weight but my clothes are sure fitting a lot looser”. Oh really! After a really good 6-8 week weight training program that’s what should be happening.

- 2nd: Excess Post- Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) or simply put, the “After Burn”. Resistance Training increases one’s metabolic rate depending of course on the intensity of the training session and this “after-burn” can last up to 24 to 48 hours afterwards. While “Steady State Cardio” does burn more calories in the same time frame, however once done you are done with burning calories. Steady State Cardio has no EPOC at all! Not so with intense weight training, resistance circuit training or intense interval training. The after-burn can last for hours!
Increasing one’s “Metabolic Rate” is how fast your body burns off calories and this is one of the keys to weight loss. Resistance training does just that.

- 3rd: Having more muscle also increases one’s “Basal Metabolism” or the amount of energy you burn at rest (very similar to Metabolic Rate). Actually, to be more precise, the more muscle you have or carry, the higher your resting energy expenditure (REE). Since your REE is a very big part of your total energy used in a given day, it can have a big impact on just how many calories you are burning! That’s why ladies need to put on muscle and also get shaped/toned. The shaping and toning comes from having more muscle—which has shape---fat does not! The body requires a lot of energy to break down and to rebuild muscle, depending on just how much muscle you have. Helen Kollias in an Research Review entitled: “Is Cardio Better than Weights for Fat Loss” does an outstanding job running the numbers on just how much energy is burned depending on body weight, activity and calories taken in. If interested then go to that article for the details, but I must warn you, if you have a weak stomach for math don’t attempt, just take my word for it that the more muscle you have the more likely your body will be an energy consuming machine!
I could go on and on about the benefits of weight training however what I have listed will be enough for now to prove my point.


1st: and foremost, the steady state Cardio as mentioned above does burn more calories in the same amount of time with less energy expended than weight training. However in the final analysis weight training burns more because of the EPOC. Remember, the after burn makes all the difference in the world and with Steady State Cardio you don’t get that.

2ND: I can’t think of a better place to start for a novice or beginner thinking of starting a fitness program for the very first time than some simple form of cardio. It gives someone confidence and helps prevent intimidation by the more advanced people around them in the gym. However, this is only a short 2-3 week process. After this, it’s on to adding a simple circuit resistant training program. If they do decide to stay on this treadmill program for 30-40 minutes 3 times a week, then the average weight loss will be 4 pounds in 8 months! Have fun wasting your time!!

3rd: One of the best things cardio does, even the steady state, is that it causes your lungs to process more oxygen with less effort and your heart to pump more blood with less beats and with this
causes your blood supply directed to your muscles to increase. In other words it’s a great place to start to exercise your heart!

4th: When performing high intensity cardio such as Interval Sprinting, going hard on a piece of cardio equipment such as Concept 2 Rower, or even an Elliptical for 15 to 20 minutes or more, then with that type of cardio it’s a whole new ball game. This high intensity cardio has the potential to really jack up your “metabolic rate” and give you more results much like an intense resistance training program.


Anyone who is even thinking about starting an exercise program for the New Year must also consider modifying their food intake. It’s not quite about how much they are taking in but what they are taking in. This article is not to tackle the subject of Nutrition; however I will say that one must start with limiting the amount of sugar that is taken in daily. It’s not the saturated fats that are making Americans over weight but the amount of sugar that we consume. Limiting Sugar is a great place to start!


As I stated above, research has documented that “Concurrent Training” or training both cardio and weight resistant exercises contributes the most when it comes to weight loss. But what’s the best way to incorporate both if that’s the best way to get results? Several ways actually, picking the one that’s right for you is the key.

1). I always get the question, is doing cardio better after I lift weights or before? And my answer: Afterwards and here’s why. You need a lot more energy and explosive power doing your weight training. Performing your cardio first would rob one of that energy. Plus your weight training saps up your quick energy stores so doing your cardio last in most cases would get to your fat stores much sooner than if one did their cardio first.

2). Circuit Type Weight Training: Due to most doctors knowing very little about strength & conditioning, they tell most everyone that they need more cardio to exercise the heart. However circuit training (performing 3-5 exercises in a row without stopping) can get your heart rate up just as high, and if one goes 4-5 rounds of a particular circuit then you’re keeping the heart rate up just as long. I like this for the ladies especially because mixing in the cardio keeps the amount of weight lifted down for those who may tend to put on more muscle than others. I would love to have that problem!

3). Crossfit: I like Crossfit because of the combination of what we’ve been talking about, combining resistance work with cardio---high intensity cardio! But just make sure that you’ve got a good instructor to set you up with a program for your level of fitness.

4). Cardio Incorporated into the Weight Training Program: Talking about getting your heart rate up! Try performing a set of squats (let’s say 10 reps) then without rest going over and jumping on a stationary bike for an all-out 30 second sprint at a resistance level of 15 and perform that for 5 sets, or go over and push a sled like the Prowler for 20-30 yards. Now this is a very advanced, a high intensity way of combining the two but you get my point. Another example is something that I do with a lot of people is combine 1 or 2 weight training exercises then have the individual choose a piece of cardio equipment and perform 30 seconds to 1
minute on that machine followed directly by 2 other weight training exercises. 3 to 5 rounds of that circuit with 90 seconds of rest between each will jack your heart rate up and give you an “after-burn” that you will feel all day!

Now when you do cardio by itself I would suggest 3 different types. Doing the same cardio program is like performing the same weight training program day after day. It will kind of get boring plus the body will get used to what you’re doing and can adapt which can lead to minimal progress.

1st. Yes, good old steady state cardio with your heart rate getting or staying around 60-65% of your max heart rate.

2nd. Interval training: Did you realize that Olympic Sprinters have less body fat than distance runners? Why, because sprinting builds muscle and fires up that good old metabolic rate! So try sprinting for example: 30 seconds on cardio machines such as the stationary bike, elliptical, Concept 2 Rower, or even the treadmill or on the track, rest 60 seconds then perform again times 5 to 10 sets depending on your fitness level. The time can be more or less and once again depending on your fitness level. This will get your heart rate up around 85-90% of your max heart rate for another great metabolic intensifier.

3rd. You can also go all out for anywhere from 12-20 minutes on the cardio machine of your choice. See how many meters you can row in 12 minutes or how far you can run in 15 minutes. It’s your call but remember that the time will dictate your intensity. You have to fight through it with your heart rate maxing out at 85 to 90%.
Choose a different cardio regimen each session or depending on how you’re feeling that day will also dictate the type of intensity you select.
So there you have it; cardio after or jump in with some cardio during the weight training workout to get you heart rate up even more. The key is what works best for you, your fitness level and your needs and goals.

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, USAW, CFMT
Fitness & Wellness Coordinator
Europa Sports Products

-Research Reviews: “Is Cardio Better Than Weights for Fat Loss” By Helen Kollias
- “Cardio Versus Weight Training” Built