Myth Busting: Is more really better when it comes to training?
Harder, faster, longer: You might be debiting your health bank account
I’m all for getting active, trying new stuff and doing organised classes (obviously!). I think it’s great that there is such a big movement to get fit and active. However, sometimes it can be taken to extremes. You may not be seeing your intended results and you may even be causing real damage.
“If I’m not completely shattered, the workout didn’t work”
People are doing multiple classes a day or back to back classes of some frenetic, super-charged exercise (and you'll get praise from the instructors for it too). They’re pushing themselves with more reps, more weight, longer runs. If they aren't exhausted to the point of collapse and sweating the house down, was it even worth it?
It might feel like working harder will get you there faster but this isn't necessarily true.
Your body is a closely connected system and each part plays a vital role. Depending on your goals (and being healthy should be a given!) and your lifestyle, the type of training, intensity and frequency you do is important.
If you're extremely stressed at work, your body may need a recovery session rather than a WOD.
If you're after fat loss, you don't have to do 8 high-intensity classes a week to get results.
If that sounds like you, revisit my article on the Importance of Sleep & Recovery. Consider adding some lower intensity movement into your schedule such as walks. Add a restorative yoga practice. Best of all, speak to a health professional about what's best for you and your goals.
Look at your training as a whole and balance out the intensity to ensure that you aren't making a withdrawal from your health bank account and you're working towards your goal, not away from it. There are no shortcuts, no quick fixes and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Go back to ROCK principles of being consistent and realistic. Change up your work-outs but keep in mind what it is that you're trying to achieve and, above all, always make sure you are doing it RIGHT. Quality over quantity! An injury will only set you back.
Let's work smarter, not always harder.
I'll leave you with some wise words from Dan John via T-Nation and keep in mind that these guys call themselves "The World's Largest Hardcore Training Site"!
Excerpt from an Instagram post by T-Nation:
Tip: Beware of Overkill
by Dan John
An Example of Overkill "If jumping off a small plyo box helps my vertical leap, then jumping off a building will help that much more." Whenever I think about this, I'm reminded of my uncle who survived a fall of 39 stories off a building. Unfortunately, the building was 40 stories. Get it? He was fine for 39 stories; it was the last one that did him in. Of course, my uncle was an optimist. At the 26th floor a lady leaned out the window and asked, "How's it going?" My uncle answered, "So far, so good!” Okay, sorry, enough of that.
More Isn't Always Better
This little warning illustrated by the statement above is perhaps the most ignored in most people's training programs. "If two sets of curls make my biceps pump, I'll do twenty and the pump will stay with me until the lights come on at the club at three in the morning." Well, the pump doesn't last that long and what are you doing at a club that late anyway? Basically, I'm talking about overkill here. You shoot the deer, then pump it full of twenty more shots "just to make sure." It's the most common error in sports: • "Sixty grams of fiber a day is what some guys take to cut fat, so I'll take in 160." • "The Bulgarians train six times a day, so I'll train twelve!" • "Arnold got up to 240 in the off-season, so I'll get up to 480 and be twice as big!” You've seen it. You've done it. We all do it. Stop doing it.