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Is Your Training Hardly Smart Or Smartly Hard?

I hear many people saying that they're worried about performance levels as a result of recovering from an injury, and facing the ominous tick-tock of our aging. Learn why and what the difference between training hardly smart and smartly hard!

I hear many people saying that they're worried about performance levels as a result of recovering from an injury, and facing the ominous tick-tock of our aging.

Sometime along the way, I had to prioritize training smart over training hard. Some would say that it's that critical distinction which differentiates boy-strength from man-strength. Some would say that only a father can truly tap man-strength and hence the popular term - dad strength. It's a maturation process which we either face, or life gives us the opportunity to face it in the form of recovery from a traumatic event.

And we keep facing traumatic events until we DO learn to train smart.

One of the most difficult decisions I ever faced was changing my perspective that training had to be hard in order to be quality. Don't get me wrong. As any of my interns will attest, I train myself and others hard. But the manner, the frequency and the duration are not as inefficient as when I was younger (before a severe lower back injury left me with a fork in the road of my training.)

The wonderful thing about aging is that it demands that we learn balance, patience, persistence, humility and respect. We can still push the envelope, but under the auspices of training smart. Sounds like a negative? It's not. Intelligent, efficient training is the gateway to mastery.

We can't afford the all-out, willy-nilly exertions of our more youthful counterparts. With age comes the increasing need for deliberation, precision, timing, rhythm, sensitivity and accuracy. Fortunately, balance, patience, persistence, humility and respect unlock these virtues ... if we let go of the belief system that more work is better. The truth is less work to accomplish the same goal is preferable - this is actually the definition of efficiency = useful work / total work.

You're already effective, so you can stop working towards that end, and focus on becoming increasingly more efficient - or as you'll hear around here - "Efficiently Effective": the ability to do the right thing in the right way at the right time.

Basically, you have to be sensitive to the following Training Type Chart (listed in order from most severe to least intense):

Training Type

  • Over-training
  • Toughness training
  • Performance Zone
  • Maintenance training
  • Recovery training
  • Under-training

Here are some tips for efficient training habits observing the Training Type Guidelines:

Longevity Training Guidelines

  • Do your resistance training only every other day, but mix it up with Biomechanical Exercise. Maintenance training

  • Do your wrestling, fighting and any other sports (including your cardio conditioning) on the days you're not doing resistance training. Performance Zone

  • Vary the type of strength and conditioning you do often (every 4-6 weeks at least).

  • Keep most of your efforts submaximal. Maintenance Training

  • Only push hard occasionally, and then with a very specific goal/intention in mind. You can test yourself once every 4-6 weeks in one of your favorite exercises at the time. Toughness Training

  • After a self-test, take a day or more off to recover. Recovery Training

  • Tune it down or pause when you feel sluggish, or take additional days off when feeling exhausted or bored (first sign of Over-Training)

  • Totally rest one day/week, on which you can hike, stroll, or some other leisurely physical activity. Recovery Training

  • Do dynamic joint range of motion exercises every AM and PM - "We're as old as our connective tissue." Maintenance Training

  • Make your training into play. This is the most significant issue. It doesn't have to be juvenile "play" - but rather exciting, exploratory and mysterious challenge - one of the underpinning goals of my book Body-Flow. Performance Zone

  • Have faith in your Process

As one of the other Tribal members wrote, we're all given opportunities to "turn lemon into lemonade." Stay the course. It'll all work out with balance, patience, persistence, humility and respect - and in truth, you'll be 10-fold better athlete as a result.

Be sure to check out my article:
Double-D: 8 Minutes Of Delicious Torture!

Faith Matters.

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