How much is too much?

How much is too much?

A lot of the talk lately at PSKC has focused on how much exercise/training is enough? The good thing about PSKC is that it attracts driven individuals, who are always looking to do more. But is exercising more going to give you results? 


People are somewhat surprised when they find out the coaches/trainers at PSKC typically only train 4-5 hours in a week…so out of 168 hours in a week, we typically are only working out 4-5 of them. So why so little? It’s a matter of quality versus quantity. 


I would say a “long” workout for us a 1/2 hour…typically the conditioning workouts usually last 10-20 minutes. Now granted there are the special cases (sissy test), but the majority of the training is around 20 minutes. Just because it doesn’t last long, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Trust me those 10 minutes seem like 10 hours sometimes (thrusters and burpees anyone?). That’s the beauty of high intensity exercise, you don’t need 2 hours a day to see results if you’re truly performing at maximum intensity. As a matter of fact if you’re working out more you could be making very difficult for yourself to see results…





Tim Ferriss’ excellent book 4 Hour Body talks about the Minimum Effective Dose (MED). Tim describes it as this,  “(MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome”. 


Tim further explains using the boiling point example. How hot does the stove have to be to boil water? 212 degrees..so if you crank the temperature up to 400 degrees are you going to boil the water more efficiently or better? No..you’re just going to burn your pot up and waste a bunch of energy in the process (e.g. overtrain). 


“Anything beyond the MED is wasteful. To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it “more boiled.” Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.

Ashley enjoying the minimum effective dose

He further illustrates the point by sun bathing..and you all know my pasty white ass could use some sun. 


“If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach. During this forced break from the beach, let’s assume one week, someone else who heeded his natural 15-minute MED will be able to fit in four more tanning sessions. He is four shades darker, whereas you have returned to your pale pre-beach self. Sad little manatee. In biological systems, exceeding your MED can freeze progress for weeks, even months.”


To remove stored fat, do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones.”


So if you’re “in the gym” several hours at a low-moderate pace you could be actually making it worse to lose fat based on the hormones you’re producing in your body. Now, by now you guys know I’m not a science/math guy..but I’m smart enough to read…so here are snippets about the hormone cortisol and it’s effects on fat gain…


Click here for full article from Melissa Urban..


“Let’s hit the basic background principles first. The adrenal glands produce many of the body’s hormones, including epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol. The function is to help us under stress – the release of certain hormones puts us into “fight or flight” mode, to help us deal with crisis situations. Trouble is, when you are under constant stress, the glands are working overtime, pumping out these hormones. The excess cortisol wreaks havoc on your metabolism, and seriously circumvents the processing of fat, protein and carbohydrates and fat loss efforts.”


Extra training = extra stress = extra cortisol = your body is hanging onto the fat instead of losing it. Don’t take my word for it, please,  I urge you to conduct your own research on this matter to gain a better understanding…just do a simple google search on “exercise and cortisol” and see what pops up. This is especially important to do for the runners out there who are putting in a huge amount of hours and miles throughout the week. 


It ain’t just for endurance athletes either. Same principle applies to those seeking maximal strength…just google Louie Simmon’s Westside Methods on powerlifting. You can’t max out every time you train with the same exact lifts and expect to PR each time out. You must constantly change the lift/exercise, otherwise you’re body gets used to what you’re doing and progress halts…the law of accommodation. Louie describes it like this, “this simply means, if you handle the same loads and same training percents, your performance will go backwards.” 


Why is this? Please click here to understand the law of accommodation and it’s effect on maximal strength –  
http://westside-barbell.com/westside-articles/PDF.Files/05PDF/ACCOMMODATION.pdf


212 degrees is all you need to boil water…more does not equal better. It’s the quality of the exercise not the quantity. That’s what makes the kettlebell such an amazing tool..if used correctly you gain simultaneously increase your work capacity and strength levels. That’s why we are always switching up the workouts and the tools we use…we never want the body to get used to what we’re doing. 


However, those hardcores who come to class and want to exercise/run/swim extra throughout the day…you won’t see the results any faster and more likely than not…you’ll remain stagnant. 


Minimum Effective Dose…short bouts of high intensity exercise = get to PSKC 3-4 times a week bust your ass while you’re there, eat clean all natural foods, and get plenty of quality sleep. Easier said than done..I know. 

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