Minimum Effective Dosage: Train Smarter Not Harder
Are You Spending Too Much Time in The Gym to See Results?
There are few things people as enthusiastic in life as new boot campers eager to make serious lifestyle changes and make up for lost time in their quest to get fit and healthy. Their motivation and passion are contagious, and watching transformations is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a trainer.
But in their excitement, many boot campers make a common mistake – overtraining, and worse, with ‘wasted volume’. The thinking goes like this: “If 2 sets is good, then 4 must be better” or “If an hour long workout challenges my muscles, then I’ll really get ripped if I do 2!” In other words, more is better and leads to faster results.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t always the case, and taken to the extreme can lead to getting hurt and MISSING workouts. As with most things in life, moderation and consistency in fitness are the keys to success. Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and there is no need to do more than the minimum needed for maximum results.
For example, consider medication. If 200 milligrams of Advil takes away your headache, you do not need to take 1000 milligrams. It will not make your headache go away any more effectively, because 200 milligrams will make it disappear completely! Taking 1000 milligrams is not only wasted effort, but it could have dangerous effect on your health.
It is important to realize that over training in fitness not only doesn’t deliver faster and better results, but it can lead to injury and burnout. Pushing your body beyond what it can effectively handle will usually result in a strain or muscle tear, or workouts that last hours but get you nowhere closer to your goals. There have actually been countless studies posted that indicate that while there is a minimum amount needed to see results in the gym, there is also an upper limit and going beyond that will likely lead to regression, loss in strength, excessive soreness, decreased recovery and in some cases even fat gain or worse – injury.
Likewise, for those just starting, if you blast out of the gate at top speed with an intensity or volume that you can’t possibly sustain, you will burn out and likely give up. The wisest choice is to practice moderation and consistency.
Remember, what you do every day is more important than what you do every once in a while. Those workouts with 15-20 sets may not feel as productive as doing 10 different exercises for 4 sets of 10 each, but more doesn’t always equate to better. Give the compound effect time to work. Train to get better. Give every set a really good effort, rather than performing endless sets with minimal effort. Your effort will pay off. You will become stronger, more fit, and others will begin to notice.