2/29/16

The point of diminishing returns - part I



Training for an event can be very rewarding.
Considering that you have to exercise to train yourself for an event, preparing for a race can actually be a healthy way to de-stress and to keep the body in good health. 

But when the body becomes overly stressed from training OR an overly stressed body tries to adapt to consistent training stress, there is a point of diminishing returns when an active lifestyle becomes unhealthy.

Much of our society has an obsession with productivity.
To-do lists are never ending and there is always something to do to keep busy.
Yet athletes still find 10-20+ hours to train, despite already living a very busy lifestyle.

Sadly, an overworked, always on the go, constantly connected, squeezing everything in athlete can become so accustomed to living a busy lifestyle that healthy habits become expendable all in an effort to get in a workout.

As an athlete, healthy lifestyle habits can enhance training. Whereas you may think that you have to get in x-miles or hours to improve performance, what you do when you aren't training can actually help your body improve fitness quicker than feeling the need to always train harder or longer.

If you are a triathlete training for an event this season, you are likely at the point in your training where the volume and/or intensity is increasing. This is exciting but also concerning.

Is your body ready to handle this increase in training stress?
What are you giving up in your life in order to add in more training hours and to be able to recover properly between added workouts or are you trying to add more training stress without adjusting your life?

Seeing that the body needs repeated stress to produce advantageous physiological gains, it's important to pay attention to the
noticeable signs and symptoms that your body may not be adapting well to consistent or residual training stress.

Sometimes the training plan and recovery routine needs to be adjusted whereas other times, there is an issue with the daily diet, sport nutrition/fueling, sleep or other lifestyle habits.
It's important to be honest with yourself when something needs to change. Otherwise,
if an immediate change isn't made, it's only a matter of time before a more serious health issue and performance decline could arise. 

This is a hard subject to debate about because every athlete adapts to training stress differently.
It's difficult for dedicated, hard working athletes to understand when training stress is normal and needed or too much and unhealthy.

When I work athletes, I'm always considering the athlete and his/her lifestyle, personal life stressors and other life responsibilities when designing a training plan or discussing a nutrition strategy so that any plan or change is conducive to optimize performance and health.

I'm all about maximizing performance with a healthy body and mind.

Considering that athletes have the discipline and motivation to make sacrifices in life to get in a workout, I want you to understand that your love/desire to train, if not done in a smart way, may actually make you less fit and unhealthy. 


In part II of this blog post, I will discuss some of the signs and symptoms that your body is not handling life stress or training stress very well and how to train smarter to train harder.  


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Remember, performance gains are not linear. It takes time to develop your skills and fitness. When you think you aren't making progress, you may actually be doing exactly what you need to be doing. Give yourself time and be patient in your journey.

But if you are training for continuous fitness gains in order to complete or to compete in an event and you know that something is limiting your performance or health, consult with a professional to provide an objective expert opinion to ensure that your hard work will pay off by race day.