DO less and DO it better…
Wise words by my good friend Sarah Polacco of Achieve Fitness in Boston. I love talkin shop with fellow fitness professionals. It’s a good way to get my rants off my chest and to soak up new information from different perspectives. This time around we ended up talking about the common misconception of “more is better.” This is often the mindset of those just beginning to get into fitness and even those who have been “working out” for years.
I’d be lying to you if I said this wasn’t my own mindset for many years. Let me walk you through my old workouts. I would do set after set of bench presses until I couldn’t bench anymore. Then I would move on to dumbbell bench presses and tricep pushdowns. This was followed by more and more sets of different chest and tricep exercises. My workouts lasted at least an hour and a half. Easy to do during the good ol days of having all the time in the world and my only worries were school work and lifting. All that lifting, in combination with back/bicep days and leg days, definitely helped create a solid base that allows me to do what I currently do today. However, it was wayyyyy too much and not sustainable.
So, what ended up happening when I had the mindset of more is better?
Every few weeks my shoulders would be jacked up and my knees slightly swollen. I’d have zero energy throughout the day and was becoming allergic to things that never bothered me before. What I was experiencing was overtraining. It was far too much added stress on my body and it left no time for recovery. My body kept trying to warn me, but I continued to ignore it.
Many people are still stuck in this cycle of going hard, or balls to the wall, then crapping out and doing it all over again. When you are initially getting into exercising, you may get decent results by doing this. Except, it isn’t the healthiest relationship with exercise nor is it sustainable. There will be a point when your body rebels through an injury, reversal of results, or staying stagnant. Usually when people hit these plateaus, they add in more and more stuff thinking that’s the solution. It’s not the solution.
You get 80% of your results from 20% of the stuff you do, which means you get the most out of the small amount of what you do. This is where learning to do less but do it better comes into play.
People are so concentrated on burning a shit ton of calories to attempt to out-train their diet. What’s lacking is that there isn’t a whole lot of concentration on movement quality or quality of reps. The concentration is just on getting as many reps as possible. This is flawed because you can’t out-train a bad “diet.” Simply doing more and not adjusting your diet won’t help. Instead of trying to get as many reps as possible, try focusing on movement quality and adjusting your diet. If you are not sure what to do about your nutrition you can click here.
So, make sure you DO less and DO it better. This is why I love the StrongFirst way. They treat Strength as a skill, a skill that can be developed and worked on infinitely. When you take the concentration off trying to burn a ton of calories during your workouts and more towards moving well and feeling each and every rep will allow you to enjoy the process much more. Moves that are great to focus on that tend to have a great ROI (return on investment) are squats, deadlifts, planks, pull ups, and Turkish get-ups. There are other exercises that you can practice that also have a great ROI depending on what your goals are, but the few I mentioned tend to be the most butchered.
Results are what you want. I promise you, you will get results if you just trust the process. Learn to move better. Learn how to stack your joints so your body works in an efficient and safe manner. Learn to feel all reps. In turn, you will stay healthy, you will be able to train without being set back, and you will have a lot less additional stress in your life. As a bonus, you will also get a lot stronger, which will help you feel the Power of Strength.