How Efficient is your Training?
Is more always better? Quite often no, especially when it comes to human beings.
We have limited resources (time, energy, money, attention, etc) which means doing more of one thing limits our availability to do other things.
No-one wants to waste resources, so how do we ensure we are being as efficient as we can be with our training?
I tend to subscribe to the minimum effective dose philosophy, which means the least amount of work required to get the task done is the most efficient, and any extra resources are essentially wasted.
I think there is a common misconception that if you want to be good at something, you have to only do that ONE thing.
In fact there's evidence to suggest that specialising too early (going all-in on one skillset or sport) could be harmful to long term performance potential.
My personal experience with specialisation and it's potential limits:
I've been lifting weights for about 18 years, and I've tried just about every program in existence, and made varying levels of progress on most of them.
Most recently my program involved lifting 6 days a week, pretty hard sessions most of the time, I didn't make much progress and eventually I burned out and lost a lot of my drive to train.
When I dropped my lifting back from 6 days per week to 2, reduced the volume of the workouts, and started doing more non-lifting related activities (running and jiu jitsu), I finally beat my old squat and deadlift personal bests from 5 years prior.
Why did this happen?
Note: I am NOT implying that running and jiu-jitsu will improve your lifting performance.
What I am saying is that in order to deadlift 290kg and squat 240kg at under 100kg body weight, it wasn’t necessary for me to train more than 2 days per week (and less than an hour and a half each session)
What does this mean?
What it meant was, my program was very efficient, containing just what I needed and nothing I didn’t.
It also meant that I was fresh for every lifting session, instead of carrying massive amounts of accumulated fatigue into training. As a result;
1. I was able to express maximum nervous system output because I wasn’t inhibited by fatigue.
2. I was actually excited to lift on the days that I did, because I wasn’t lifting every damn day.
So if you've been flogging your guts out on an intense lifting program, but not actually getting much stronger, or even worse, getting weaker or picking up niggles and injures, take heed.
Don’t underestimate what you can do with a minimum effective dose training program, especially if you are also trying to manage a business, relationships, a social life etc.