The main thing, that makes any lifting programme unsustainable, is
garbage volume! Many feel that they should train as hard as their advanced role-models. Because we were all told that more is better, that pain is inevitable when it comes to progressing in work. Yet when we do too much needless volume, we eventually hit a brick wall, which we cannot overcome by adding more volume. Because we have already spent too much time exceeding the point of diminishing returns. Accumulated fatigue has made us, unable to recover from our training session.
I know how it feels to hit that brick-wall of stagnating progress, because I tried to do the advanced version of so many workouts. Mistakenly thinking that I was fitter and had more trainability then I did.
The 2 problems with working too hard in the gym?
Firstly, garbage sets come at a cost, and they do cause micro-damage. Training more then is necessary is akin to sunbathing more then is healthy, training and sunbathing are damaging when taken to excess. The body will try to heal this through raising inflammation levels, creating red inflamed skin or swelling up our fat tissue. Which is the opposite effect we desire from a fat-loss program. In other words draining our body through excessive exercise, is not only needless but it is idiotic. Secondly, exceeding the minimum effective dose, creates physiological stress. One of the indicators of physiological stress, is how much the sympathetic nervous system is activated. The more activation the higher our systemic stress is. A heightened sympathetic nervous system is linked to:
– Swollen fat tissue, especially around the abdomen
– Reduced muscle mass
– Adrenal fatigue
– Reduced immunity.
– Auto-immune conditions
– etc The Minimalistic Solution
Now exercise by pure definition is stressful, one of my clients calls it good stress. Now there is nothing wrong with dipping into a state of stress. But hanging around with fire, is a recipe for getting burnt. Which is why I am a massive fan of Pat’s minimalistic training philosophy. The way that I have not overreached is by looking out for the following 4-signs whenever I lift: 1. My HRV stays low for more then 5 minutes:
A low Heart Rate Variability (HRV), indicates that ones sympathetic nervous system is heightened. -} During a lifting session I have successfully monitored my HRV through a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and the Elite HRV app. Stopping my workout whenever it was below 70% of my average score, for more then 5 minutes. 2. When my face starts to tighten up:
In cranial Osteopathy, tension of our jaw muscles is a sign that we have gone into fight or flight mode. Meaning our sympathetic nervous system has been activated. Which is why even dentists tell people that stress is what causes us to clench our teeth together at night. -} A sign we are lifting too heavy, or forcing an extra rep out, is a contorted face. 3. My breathing becomes shallow and fast, for over 5 minutes:
One of the ways that meditating relaxes us, is that it slows down our breathing rate and encourages deep breathing. Which slows down our sympathetic nervous system. Doing the opposite of that and breathing fast and shallow, raises our sympathetic nervous system. -} Shallow breathing when we are lifting, indicates it might be time to call it a day. 4. I shake or shiver, during the concentric portion of lifting:
When animals feel threatened, especially afraid they shiver. Twitching is associated with a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system activity, both being primitive stress responses to threats. -} Unnecessary shaking when lifting, especially on the (lifting (concentric) portion of the lift, only occurs when lifting is stressing the system. In Summary:
When you have planned your own Minimalist program. Look out for the 4 signs of physiological stress:
– A 5-minute dip in HRV
– contorted facial muscles
– Fast and shallow breathing
– Shaking on the concentric portion of the lift. I am sure that this will help you stop your minimalistic program from becoming excessive.