Yesterday, I told you about my passion for helping people do big things. I also introduced you to Crossing The Chasm, the unique method we use to deliver results – no matter what your pursuit.
I’ve been fortunate to help thousands already. And I’m on a mission to help millions through the Optimal Performance Podcast, speaking engagements, coaching, and an upcoming book…
In yesterday’s post we looked at how Olympic and collegiate athletes increased their energy, recovery, and performance with a few tweaks to their food intake (not a diet).
Today I want to show you another example of how we can help high performers like you take their performance to all new levels.
Meet Eric. Eric (not his real name) is an active duty Navy SEAL.
His day job requires him to be the ultimate human weapon. The performance specifications involve strength, speed, muscle mass, endurance, intelligence, and most of all – he needs to be robust. He needs to be able to handle anything and everything, then recover and do it again in 10 minutes. And the next day.
By itself, this is no small training task.
Doable? Of course.
Here’s where it gets “fun”…
When he’s not deployed, our ultimate soldier enjoys challenging his mind and body with 200-mile round trip biking excursions, 100-mile endurance races, and Strongman competitions.
So how do we make progress in multiple domains in the same training year? More importantly, how do we do it in a way that does not injure him or otherwise impair his ability to perform his day job – you know, being a Navy freaking SEAL.
The problem is obvious – done incorrectly, this pursuit would crush anyone. The volume, the multiple modalities, the mental and physical demands from work and training…
Our focus immediately became recovery, managing the demands of training and ensuring that adaptations could occur without negatively impacting other areas of performance (or health).
If training stress is too low, we get no adaptation.
If training stress is too great, we don’t get the recovery we need to make progress.
Remember, this graph only contains 1 training variable.
With Eric, we were juggling 3, sometimes 4.
In order to stimulate an adaptation in endurance, we needed to create a sufficient training effect but still keep training the other performance traits Eric required – strength, muscle mass (read: body armor), power and speed.
We can’t build all of these attributes at once. Since Eric already had adequate strength, size, and power, we put those on maintenance mode.
In other words, we reduced their training volume to the minimum dose that would prevent declines in performance.
In reality, this meant 1-2 fewer strength training sessions per week. With fewer sessions, exercise selection, rep ranges, and loading became increasingly important.
We focused on compound lifts that involved major movement patterns (squat, push, pull, hinge, carry, throw, etc) and used varying loads that stimulate all areas of the force spectrum but kept the volume manageable so as not to tax Rich’s recovery capacities.
This allowed us to devote more training time, and more recovery resources to building up his endurance.
We spent the rest of Eric’s time and recovery “budget” on increasing his speed and mileage until the first event (cycling).
When then repeated this process with the next phase of training, increasing his running tempo and distance.
For the third event, Strongman, strength became the priority, while mileage could actually decrease. With the increased aerobic base we developed in the previous 2 phases, increasing strength was even easier for Eric.
He excelled at in 3 pursuits, stayed healthy, and had a blast.
Here’s a look at the 3 Training Phases we used and their priorities:
- 200 Mile Cycle: Priority = Increased cycling speed & endurance. Maintain strength, size, power.
- 100 Mile Run: Priority = Increase pace & endurance. Maintain strength, size, power.
- Strongman: Priority = Increase strength & event technique. Maintain size, power, work capacity.
I’ve been in the health and fitness industry for about 13 years now…I can’t tell you how many times I see people fail because they fail to account for this time and recovery “budget”.
Making 1 area a priority means we must increase overall capacity or borrow from another area.
Beginners and intermediates usually have the ability to increase overall capacity, while more advanced trainees have likely reach the finite cap of their time and recovery ability – requiring them to “borrow” from other areas.
We must respect this limited/finite recovery capacity.
When properly planned, anything is possible. The human body is an amazing system created for adaptation, evolution and survival…when leveraged properly these biological traits can propel us to amazing heights.
Crossing The Chasm Action Items:
- Respect our limited/finite recovery capacities.
- Determine priorities for phases of training, build that area + maintain the rest (drop the volume/intensity)
- Cycle the qualities being built to match current goals (strength, endurance, etc) keeping the rest on maintenance mode
- Remember the SAID principle: Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands
The body responds (adapts) to the demands imposed upon it. If you want to be a good squatter…SQUAT!
The higher you climb on the mountain of success, the more specific your training needs to be.
If your goal is to be an all-around badass, you need to challenge your body in multiple planes of motion, build multiple energy systems to their full potential, and train with chaotic, varying movements, and intensities.
If you want to specialize and be the world’s best in a single domain, then you need to narrow your focus and master that single area.
There are many ways to train and none of them are inherently the “best” way to train – there is only what is best for your stated goals.
Ready to get started? CLICK HERE to learn more.