This past weekend at the PaleoFX conference, I had a number of conversations with people who were curious as to how we incorporate what
we do at Efficient Exercise with other activities. They were having a hard time rectifying how such a small amount of exercise could benefit their activity.
There first thing I explained was simply that we at EE don’t want them to be “good” at working out. Not that we don’t want them to get better but that we want them to do only well enough to benefit the activity that they’d rather be doing. For endurance athletes, this means that they really only need one workout per week with us. The trick is that they need to replace one of their training days with our workout: you can’t just add the strength training on top of a loaded endurance schedule. Studies showthat the combination of strength and endurance only works if some of the endurance activity is replaced with strength work. It’s also been shown from the same studies that this strength work reduces injury potential and improves oxygen consumption.
So how might that look in practice? My friend Patrick Diver has combined an approach similar to ours with his cycling. In this interview, he explained the schedule he used when competing at the highest levels (Florida Pro I/II criterium championship):
- Monday: Off
- Tuesday: Intervals on bike + short HIT session
- Wednesday: Training Race
- Thursday: Off
- Friday: Off
- Saturday: Race
- Sunday: 2.5 hour fast group ride
Total weekly hours: 5-7
So if you know any cyclists who compete, they'll scoff at this amount of training but it was an intelligent application of leveraging the highest quality hours that produce the best result.
What about other activities? It's pretty in vogue to focus on moving naturally, attempting to apply how humans may have moved and build a workout around it. This sort of activity is a lot of fun and that's part of my point: you should be doing things you like doing more often with less injures. That's what resistance training like what we do at EE can provide. Back to my point, how do we mesh the two? Again, Patrick's answer is more succinct than I could provide:
My take on it goes like this: do a (high quality strength) session once a week to cover your bases, and then go jump, roll, fight, climb, cycle or whatever else that seems like fun to you.
Remember, unless you have a specific performance goal that pertains to the gym, you don't have to spend much time there to get the benefits to health and vitality. This is also true if you're attempting to improve the performance of other activities. The gym only improves the baseline strength of the muscles involved; you've got to use them in the activity to maximally transfer that raw strength.
It's really that simple.