There are a lot of debates within the training world about overtraining. What it is, what causes it and what you should be doing about it. (For a more comprehensive look at the science you can check out this blog on overtraining)
Obviously finding the most optimal approach is a fantastic target and something you should be striving for when it comes to improving the progress you’re making in the gym but it appears that the pendulum has continued to swing too far. Collectively, as we’ve come to think more about recovery we pulled ourselves back from the symptoms of chronic overtraining but we didn’t stop when we should have. More often than not the people you see next to you at the gym are so far away from any degree of overtraining than many of them are undertraining!
Intensity and frequency are two of the keys to changing, and improving, your body and the (sometimes) rational fear of overtraining has put such a powerful governor on our training speedometer that often we’re unable to reach the speed we need to break through our current limitations and chase after our goals at 100 miles per hour.
So, how can we effectively combine the knowledge that we need to training frequently and intensely while at the same time respecting the dangers of overtraining? Great question! The key is to vary the stimulus you’re putting on your body.
Can you hit a hard bench press workout two days in a row? Ya for sure. It might not feel amazing but you could do it. What about three? Probably. Four, Five, could you keep it up for a couple weeks? After a certain point you’ll start to regress, feel shitty and maybe even get injured if you keep this up.
Now, what about a bench press workout, then a squat workout, then a pull up workout and then a run. Could you hit those back to back? Absolutely you could, with very little (if any) interference from one workout to another.
The trick to making the fastest possible progress is to make sure you have a few specific and different goals that you’re working on as intensely and as frequently as possible.
In my Badass Body book I outline three areas in which you should have goals you’re working on:
How you look
How you perform
How you feel
When you combine these three areas correctly you can push the intensity and frequency of your training and subsequently the speed of your results through the roof because not only do you have multiple, different targets but effort in one area doesn’t take away from another - when you do it correctly these areas actually compliment and add momentum to the others!
In my book I walk you through setting up goals and workouts for each of these areas but today you can start with some simple questions for each:
If I could have any body I wanted, what would I look like?
If I could do any sport or physical feat, what would I do?
When I’m feeling my absolute best, how do I feel?
Once you have some answers for each of these you’ll want to look at the optimal way to achieve them and then see how you can combine it into an harmonized routine like the one in Badass body but regardless of how you do it you’ll know you’ve hit the nail on the head when the more work you do the BETTER you feel and the faster you start seeing results!