Exercising to achieve some kind of benefit, whether strength, ‘fitness’, metabolic changes, recovery, rehabilitation, sport training and so on; rely on some set principles. Specificity, overload, recovery, safety and specialised variety are some key considerations. Failure to apply those principles equates to poor or negligible outcomes.
However, ‘opportunity’ is my favourite principle not mentioned above and probably not in the standard list of requirements for training adaptations.
Opportunity appears consistently. That’s the wonderful thing about health, strength, fitness and skill – you don’t actually need to the contrived 45 to 60 minutes of gym time to achieve goals. It sure helps with some goals, but overall, it’s just a convenience.
If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.Tom Peters, Businessman and Author
Life can be busy, disruptive, random. Always expect the unexpected.
For the unassuming, disruptions to the ideal daily schedule can result in sacrificing that 45 minute training session. However, keep in mind that the standard 45 to 60 minute gym session is only a convenience and contrived. The reality is that the body hasn’t and doesn’t need an organised block of time to adapt to specific, overloaded movements / exercises to progress.
Labourers of the past with chiseled physics haven’t frequented a gym after work to build their physiques. They accumulated the specific and reasonably overloaded physical movements to carve out strong, useful and fit bodies.
I will never forget my neighbour when I lived in Carryduff, a quiet little (former farming) town in Northern Ireland. Neil was a professional painter, heavy smoker and a mighty fine fisherman at the weekend. Neil never went to the gym and found it odd that I made a living making people ‘do stuff’ in a gym haha. Neil however had calf muscles that the most seasoned bodybuilder would have been proud of. He had round, athletic shoulders and vascular forearms.
Note again that he never exercised at a gym, but his life provided all the opportunities his body needed to adapt to the specific demands of his occupation. Climbing ladders, painting, holding heavy tins of Baltic Mist and Beige Chiffon gave Neil his calves, shoulders and arms. I can guarantee he never counted reps or maxed out his brush strokes. He did a bit, rested a bit… repeat for the day and most days of the year.
The human body thrives on frequent, reasonable physical stress.FitStrong Strength & Wellness
In the StrongFirst methodology of training we talk about strength being a skill. Skill takes practice, frequent practice. The same applies to health and fitness. Sports research demonstrates time and time again that frequent exposure to movements increases the skill and adaptation to the stresses involved. Mix this with good quality sleep, and ‘wham’, you’ve got results.
So, you find yourself without 45 minutes to train. Not a problem. You can still progress by practicing whenever the opportunity arises.
Everyday Is Training Day… or at least an opportunity to add to your bank of training practice.
‘But how do I train every day Jamie, won’t I overtrain’?
Training is practice… ok? Training is not; let’s be clear, NOT training hard every day. Not maxing out or even working beyond 70 or 80% of your maximum. Training is the practice of the requisites of progressing. Punching the clock. Turning up and putting in reasonable and thoughtful efforts.
Many programs exist that work on this premise. The 40 Day program aka Easy Strength by Dan John / Pavel Tsatsouline is one such program. This program is a 5 day a week strength program where you turn up, do the work, in this case 10 reps for each of 5 different strength lifts.
There are great movement skill programs too, that ask for daily practice to develop the required skills.
Many schedules can be drawn up to work with the ‘Every Day is Training Day’ principle.
One such schedule could look like this:
- Monday – mobility routine
- Tuesday – strength routine
- Wednesday – mobility routine and walk
- Thursday – strength routine
- Friday – mobility routine
- Weekend – hike, walk, play, have fun.
Yes, it could take other looks but this demonstrates a simple yet reasonable approach to practicing being healthy, strong and mobile every day.
If you are wondering how to build your daily training practice, why not get in touch to arrange an online, virtual solution.