re: How much exercise is enough?
This past week, I gave a presentation on how to include fitness and nutrition strategies into an already busy schedule. In it, I provided examples and case studies from the personal training clients I’ve worked with over the years.
One thing common amongst my personal training clients is that they are all professionals, mostly between the ages of 40 and 60. Many of them either have kids, hold down more than one job or are business owners like myself.
For me personally, I have 2 businesses (my personal training business, and a business as a professional entertainer for corporate, associations and education)
2 businesses and I have 2 young children. My youngest turned 6 months old the other day.
And technically, because I’m a professional athlete my training has to matter. I don’t really have time to waste on unproductive training methods.
So as I was perusing the interwebs looking for ideas about what to write about, I came upon an article called “how much exercise is enough?”
It’s kind of a loaded question really. The answer, like most things health and fitness related, is “It depends.”
I’ll give an example. A couple years back I had someone tell me “I train 6 days a week, 3 hours each time. I workout 10 times as hard as everyone else and I feel like I have nothing to show for it.”
I told him “I have some theories. But you probably aren’t going to like them.”
“Well what is it?”
“I think you’re overdoing it. You’re not giving your body a chance to catch up so it’s holding onto your body fat. With me, you’ll be training 30 minutes 3 times a week and nothing else except some easy walking to help with recovery”
He lost 18lbs in a month. But that was a bit of a unique situation because his body was so used to going hard all the time, that it had developed the ability to have a speedy recovery from training. Not all situations are like that.
However, you can still get great results on short programs. I have a guy training right now about 25 minutes twice a week. Is he going to get results like the Amazing 12? Not likely, but he’ll still get great results.
The Amazing 12 is a program that’s about optimizing everything involved in a body transformation. It’s about optimal technique, optimal nutrition and optimal progression of the loads. With all those things in place it creates such amazing results in a shockingly short amount of time.
But it also requires the optimal situation. It’s approximately 5 days a week in my personal training studio, plus cardio homework. Not everyone has a schedule that will allow it.
I have a personal training client right now who would have loved to do Amazing 12. He works full time, has a part-time job and is trying to build a business. Right now, Amazing 12 isn’t right for him.
So then optimal changes because it’s context-dependent. Optimal is the best answer for whatever the situation allows. For my guy, he trains approximately 25 minutes twice a week. It may not be the optimal situation but pretty good is still pretty good. He just told me he feels good and accomplished. Like I said, pretty good is still pretty good.
As far as how much is enough? Well, training is about coaxing adaptation from your body. Your body adapts by getting stronger, leaner, fitter etc.
And in order to get an adaptive response, you need to give it a stimulus to adapt to. You might be surprised how little you actually need.
People new to training can make especially fast gains. It isn’t uncommon for some of them to actually double their strength (based on how hard they perceive something to be) within the first month. And that is done with a low volume and generous rest periods.
So how much is actually enough? Whatever it is you can safely do that challenges you. Little hinges swing big doors over time.
Eric Moss is a world-record-holding professional performing strongman, author, motivational speaker, and personal trainer. In the tradition of the strongmen during the turn of the century, he performs feats of strength such as bending steel and breaking chains as part of a show and speaks on goal achievement for corporations, nonprofits, government as well as for schools and universities. His exclusive personal training studio is located on Main Street in Boonton New Jersey, is close to Mountain Lakes, Denville, Montville and Parsippany New Jersey.
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