Updated: Jan 7, 2019
This Blog was written as an Ambassador PTA Global - See the original here
In the fitness industry many people think that the more you train, the better. We are conditioned to obsess over how to get more out of each workout. Fitness culture is plagued by motivational messages telling us to set aside pain and excuses in pursuit of fitness. While some of these approaches may be applicable to elite athletes, they are rarely a sustainable option for the general population, who likely need less intense training stress, not more!
Lifestyle diseases are now the most common causes of death and disease. Even diseases typically attributed to “genes” are influenced by lifestyle factors like sleep, stress, recovery, nutrition and hydration. These factors are not being managed well by the general population, and are contributing to our current epidemic of disease and obesity. If we know that the average gym goer is probably not doing the basics well, then it probably isn’t a good idea to thrash them in the gym, and add to their stress.
More is Less
If you have even been a gym junkie like me, you may have experienced the horrendous burnout of overtraining. I used to think that more was better, and that I could offset negative lifestyle choices with training. To this day many still think they should sweat out a cold or hang over, or train extra hard to compensate for the treat they had last night. Back in the day I used to teach 30+ aerobics classes per week, and because I still wasn’t happy with my body, I tried to do even more! That didn’t work out so well, and I’m still picking up the pieces!
The Power of Recovery
Overtraining, or more commonly, under-recovery, happens when we ignore our body’s priceless feedback. It is a common problem that stems from the more is better mentality. Recovery is where the magic happens – if it doesn’t happen, the body becomes stressed and can’t catch up. Stress can result from our lifestyle factors (hydration/nutrition), physical factors (pain) and mental or emotional stresses. The prolific nature of stress in our lives today makes recovery more important than ever before in order to help our clients remove stress from their body, thrive and get the results they seek.
Less Is More in the Following Ways
Less top range heart rate intensity (gear 4 & 5) is more pleasant, equates to faster recovery, greater hormonal response and less wear and tear.
Aiming to burn 5364625 calories per session is a great way to ignite high amounts of catabolic stress. Conversely focusing on quality of calorie intake/energy expenditure, which will result in a superior hormone and metabolic response.
Less pain = less inflammation = more gain!
Less repetition makes you stronger. Variability in your training strategies will make you more resilient.
Less time spent in the gym makes it count more. As training time increases, quality of movement, energy and focus decrease.
If you have been training hard, or are experiencing a plateau in your results, taking a de-load week to reduce volume and/or intensity which will help your body recover and accelerate results. You can even plan de-load weeks every two to four weeks.
How to Do Less and Get More
Listen to your body and honour your PTAG Daily Readiness to train. There are no hard and fast rules for training intensity anymore, and your best bet is to honour how you feel, and track your heart rate intensity and recovery. Training too hard when your readiness score is low will cause a lack of results and increase the burden on your system, pushing you further from your goals.
The best way to increase your readiness to train score (and boost overall wellness) is to positively effect all of the daily readiness questions. If recovery is lacking in your life, then make your training session focus on nourishing movement, hydration, and drills that make you feel great. If there is pain in the system, then employ strategies throughout your session to reduce pain and move more effectively. And if stress and emotions are running hot, then reduce stress in your session with healthy movement, play and recovery.
The best client transformations I have witnessed come from sessions that honour their readiness to train with less “work” and more recovery, movement enhancement and fun. The more I learn about fitness, it’s less about fitness, and more about balancing lifestyle, physical and emotional stresses.