Why more isn’t always better
Written by Mark Coles - Follow on Google+ | Facebook | Twitter
When starting out on a physical journey, it can be tempting to develop habits that force rapid progress - in order to reach your goal faster. This could be in the form of countless hours of cardio, removing all enjoyable foods from your diet, or trying to double the loads that you lifted the week before.
Whilst this isn’t inherently a bad characteristic, it may leave you high and dry later down the line.
If we told you to run a marathon every day to lose weight, would you?
The logical side of our brain tells us not to do things that aren’t necessary or that could lead to potential harm. Unfortunately, when it comes to training and dieting, a lot of us have tendencies to replace rational thinking with emotion and an “all or nothing” attitude. Think back to last time you failed - did you actually set yourself up for success in the first place?
Here are some reasons why we believe that more isn’t better, better is better:
1. There are a number of tools in the toolbox available to everyone when they are looking to create change. However, if you use them all too early, what can you do when results start to stagnate? It’s important to be patient, only making changes when it’s essential to do so. Consider applying the minimum effective dose for your desired result, as this will give you a starting point and then create a small, but very easy, amount of momentum to sustain.
2. Most individuals are actually limited by their ability to recover from training, than their willingness to push hard in a session. When a lack of results is seen, it’s immediately presumed that more output needs to take place, when it’s usually the opposite. Our focus as coaches is to ensure that outside of the gym, our clients are conscious of how they’re recovering - markers such as sleep, stress, fatigue and digestion are a great starting point. Any time these areas are off, recovery won’t be as good, and it would be futile to introduce more load/volume until they’re addressed.
3. Allostatic load is the total accumulated stress placed upon your system by physical, emotional and psychological factors. If your phone battery represented your daily energy, having more apps open (i.e. having more daily stressors) would subsequently drain the battery faster and require a more frequent recharge. Some stressors place greater demand on the body than others, but if you let too much accumulate then other functions will be affected such as immune system, cognitive function, energy/fatigue and health markers such as blood pressure.
When is an appropriate time to introduce more?
This article isn’t about taking things easy and not working hard. There still needs to be an element of stress for adaptations to occur.
So, here are the main factors we ensure before introducing more stressors:
· Little to no soreness in the days after training.
· Good quality sleep for a minimum of 7 hours.
· Good digestion and a lack of bloating after meals.
· A level of consistency in a female’s menstrual cycle.
· Progressing performance - increasing strength.
The next time you’re thinking about introducing something new to your routine, consider the points above to determine whether it’s the right time and place. In other words… work smarter, not harder.
If you're not able to experience our in-house Personal Training service at M10 Nottingham, why don't you pick up a copy of our very popular 8 Week Physique e-book?