I began this series of articles on my training philosophy by expressing my belief in the importance of knowing the “why” behind what you are doing and general philosophy to guide you in the proper direction. I would like to take a step back to discuss this in a little more detail.
It is my goal to provide the program, tools, and coaching to help you achieve your goals. I will strive to continue to learn more to bring you the best. Of course, as I learn more, I also realize there is much I don’t know. This is an ever-evolving process as it is part of my philosophy to have a purpose or why behind everything we do, I will always have a why based on my current knowledge.
What I encourage you to do is to understand your “why”, as well. We have discussed this idea of knowing your “WHY” on many occasions. When I have discussed this previously, it has been focused more on the big picture “WHY” or purpose. What I would now challenge you to do is to take this concept to include in your training daily. We design each session with a purpose, and we want to articulate that purpose. It is our goal to have our purpose for the training and your “why” for your training to be congruent. Otherwise, it would not make logical sense for you to train with us.
Our training is intended to be integrative. When we consider the training from an integrative perspective, we tend to talk about mind, body, spirit. We will save the discussion on the spirit for another day.
We can break the mind and body components down to:
- Physical Adaptation
When it comes to physical adaptation, we focus on:
Each training session will focus on one or more of these areas. Here are some of the benefits and adaptions we aim to improve:
- Cardiorespiratory Health and Fitness
- Body Composition ( increased muscle and/or decreased body fat)
- Bone density
- Resilience and Anti-fragility
When it comes to the requirements for physical adaptation, especially as it relates to strength and conditioning, you need a three-step process to occur:
- You need to provide a stimulus.
- You then need to allow adequate time and resources (nutrition, sleep, etc.) to recover.
- For improvement to occur, you need not only to recover but to super compensate to adapt positively.
This process was covered in our discussion on stress response.
The mental and psychological benefits of training could be placed under one category, but for our purposes, we will have two different categories to differentiate a few points.
When I refer to the mental benefits of training, I am referring to things such as:
- Improved self-confidence
- Increased mental toughness
- Motional resiliency
When I refer to psychological, I am referring to things more related to the neurotransmitters in the brain, as discussed in John Ratey’s book ‘Spark”. He tells us that exercising “is like taking a little bit of Prozac and a little bit of Ritalin because, like the drugs, exercise elevates these neurotransmitters.”
The bottom line: “exercise balances neurotransmitters — along with the rest of the neurochemicals in the brain.” You can read Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Note in the book “Spark.”
These benefits are related to movement and physical activity in general, not specific training.
The goal of our training is to provide all of the benefits of the physical, mental, and psychological. It is also our goal to educate you on what exercise might be best suited to reach your goals and what intensity, frequency, and volume is optimal to help you attain those goals as safely, effectively, and efficiently as possible.
A simple example to illustrate this approach is as follows. If your goal is to become stronger, add lean muscle, increase bone density, and become better conditioned, you may need only one or two bouts of high-intensity strength training lasting between 10 and 20 minutes performed each week. If the stimulus is of high enough intensity to stimulate optimal gains, you will most likely not be able to recover and adapt with more of the same. However, if you also would like the mental and psychological benefits associated with less intense exercise, you may choose to train more frequently without that same level of intensity and get the best of both worlds. This is the current model of our training template.
If you are more concerned with the physical adaptations and less with the mental, then you might very well do better in some cases with less training but higher intensity and more recovery. On the other hand, if you are more interested in the mental benefits, you may do better by training more frequently with less intensity.
The problem, as I see it, occurs most commonly in the following two situations:
- You make the mistake of training too intensely every day without the ability to recover. Eventually, this can lead to burnout or injury (been there, done that).
- Your goal is to become stronger and/or better conditioned, and you focus on volume and frequency of training rather than quality and intensity. As a result, your intensity of training remains moderate compared to your potential, and you hit a plateau.
Hopefully, this gives you some insight into your training and helps you on your path to becoming your best self.