Today we discuss our culture of believing more is better. If a little bit of something is good for you, then a lot is great. Or, as I like to say, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth over-doing. Often this thought process is applied to training. If a little bit of high intensity training makes us strong, then doing it every day will make us unstoppable.
In today’s episode, we’re going to dispel this more-is-better philosophy and talk about why it is actually in opposition to how our physiology works and most importantly, how we adapt. At the very core of physiology is a principle called “homeostasis.” which describes how our bodies are always trying to maintain equilibrium or balance. The classic example is body temperature – our body typically works maintains a core temperature around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, despite our environment, clothing, and activity.
But it is not easy for our bodies to keep these equilibriums. The body has to work hard to maintain that consistent temperature. Think of homeostasis as a scale that is under constant stressors that tip it one way and then the other. Our bodies constantly respond to those “tips”, working to get the scale back into balance and never letting it tip so far that it falls over. That is the essence of homeostasis.
When we train, we are essentially playing with that scale. Tip it an appropriate amount and the body will adapt to restore homeostasis, balance. Stress it too far and the body can’t restore balance, Falling into overtraining. This is why more-is-better is counter-productive when it comes to training.
Effective training is instead a carefully timed game of playing with that homeostatic balance.
Since this is a summary episode, we’re going to include clips from several past episodes of world-class athletes, coaches and physiologist talking about balance, timing and adaptation including Brent Bookwalter, Joe Friel, Sepp Kuss, Dr. Inigo San Millan, George Bennett, Ruth Winder, Tim Cusick, Larry Warbasse, and Dr. Steven Seiler.
So, plant you feet, hold on, and let’s make you fast!