Minimum Effective Dose? You Mean Indolence?
There are days when I wonder why the hell I got into fitness in the first place; the industry as a whole is a shit show of voodoo magic and marketing hype. It seems laughable that cretins spanning the entire spectrum of stupid have managed to build a billion dollar business off of the strength of half truths and whole lies, while so many of the real coaches out there, whose hearts bleed for their clients and athletes, are left to eat the scraps from the masters’ table.
But in all honestly, as convenient as it may be to try and allocate blame to the marketing harpies for the current state of the industry, we have no one to blame but ourselves for all the miracle cures, training secrets and superfoods that are being passed off as ‘science-based’ solutions to the obesity crisis. We want the Hollywood look without putting in the Hollywood graft.
Fuck that. There is no such thing as a free lunch and there sure as hell is no such thing as an ‘effortless’ approach to strength and conditioning.
We’ve become soft. Not a single day goes by that some vapid degenerate cries wolf about his or her so-called oppression, without even having the goddamn common curtesy of actually being a part of the solution. Am I against legitimately oppressed peoples raising their voices in unison to create a platform of civil and constructive discourse with the rest of society for the purpose of making the world a better place? Of course not. I believe in human rights being equally distributed to all regardless of gender, sexual preference, race, socio-economic status and/or political affiliations: except for the dumb, lazy, entitled, tyrannically minded pieces of shit that are pouring gasoline onto the fires of climate change with their incessant bullshit… #GreenHouseGases
Hard work is a hard sell in the world we have built because we have forgotten what it means to truly toil. We have gotten fat off the spoils of economic growth and have gotten accustomed to the notion of leisure, comfort and convenience, even in the realm of exercise. Minimum effective dose they call it. Get the fuck out of here with that crap.
In today’s post we’re going to address 5 of the most important factors that contribute not only to maximal muscular development, but also to the development of the winner’s mindset.
- Maximal muscle potential: the unfortunate truth is that not all (wo)men are create equal. The sooner you accept this axiom, the better off you will be. (My crazy theory is that the genetic freak shows that stroll into the gym and start warming up with our 1 rep max, a strength marker that we have probably spent the better part of a decade struggling to attain, are the descendants of the Biblical giants that once roamed the Earth, but I digress). The point here is that no matter how genetically gifted you may or may not be, reaching your strength and size potential is a function of spending hours and hours on the gym floor training until your colon collapses, your hands bleed and the sweat spilling out of your face stings your eyes; this is particularly true for those among us that have been training for a while and have already maxed out their noobie gains. Tapping into the last of your muscular potential will take a hell of a lot more of an effort than most are willing to put into their training. In other words, 2-3 days of training a week and the occasional jog are not going to cut it if you want to achieve greatness.
- Training to failure: training to failure is a phrase that gets tossed around lightly these days, but not very many people actually know what it means to go toe to toe with exhaustion and reach the point where muscle fibers literally give out. Pushing yourselves past your personal pain thresholds will require you to dig deep and face the agonizing uncertainty of falling short when it matters most. Now, I’m not saying that you have to shoot up a couple of vials worth of adrenaline and down a gallon of pre-workout in order to bring the thunder each and every training day, but unless you keep track of your progress, and keep pushing the boundaries of what your body can endure, how could you possibly know what 1-2 reps shy of failure as prescribed in your training program feels like? Note: don’t be stupid – always take precautions when you are testing your strength limits, especially when you are working under near maximal loads.
- Work capacity: as your body begins to adapt to your program’s demands, you will have no choice but to continue pushing your overall training volume which, simply put, means that you will have to train harder, more often and with bigger weights. And as awesome as the prospect of tripling your training volume sounds, the bad news doesn’t end there: as you gradually step into the best possible version of yourself, your body is going to start fucking with you. You’ll put on less muscle at a much slower pace despite your gargantuan efforts. Oh, and fat loss follows an eerily similar path: the leaner you are, the harder it is to make the stubborn pockets of fat dissolve from your waist line, thighs and ass. But not all hope is lost – the accumulation of these little gains over the period of years will make it infinitely easier to maintain your gains, even when injuries and/or one of life’s multifarious dick moves keep you out of the gym for extended periods of time. Yes, even the hardgainers out there that lose their gains by sneezing too hard will bounce back to their usual levels of swole in a matter of weeks. And for my chubby brethren out there who, like me, struggle to keep the squishiness at bay, you’re very unlikely to lose much strength and size at all if life forces you out of the gym.
- Advanced training techniques: once you’re well on your way to becoming the sexiest, most jacked reiteration of you, this is when we come after you with everything left in our tool box… Get ready to bring the pain because this shit is going to sting.
- Overreaching: and no, unless you are a competitive, high level athlete, you are probably not ‘working too hard’. If I’m not overtraining, then you’re not overtraining. Period. Poor fatigue management and under-recovery are far more likely a problem for most people in most situations most of the time. In any good program, especially for an advanced trainee, there will be (short) periods of training (3-6 weeks) beyond the body’s ability to recover, followed by strategic periods of low intensity/volume in order to circumvent the body’s natural tendency to maintain homeostasis. Because the body is an asshole like that: it doesn’t like change and will fight you tooth and nail to keep the boat from rocking.
More volume + more training days + more weight + more pain = looking like your favorite comic book character.
So in closing, fuck mediocrity and fuck minimum effective dose of training. Embrace the pain with open arms and with the wrath of a disgruntled Bosnian war veteran and watch your gains reach the heights of Olympus.
Let us close with a quote from one of our own:
Every program is an answer to a question …
The tentative solution to the problem that’s in front of you ..
Lately the question is something like ”hey what will help adherence, how will it fit clients schedule etc … ”
But sometimes the question is ”What will make the motherfucker grow like crazy ?” ..
And that’s the question I like answering the best …
Not every program has to be practical…
Not every program has to take every variable into consideration ..
Not every program has to curb physiological benefits due to psychological/practical limitations ..
Sometimes you just get clients that will do anything necessary …
Fucking love working with those guys..
– Coach Dragan
About the author
Head Coach, Managing Director
Wordsmith. Lover of Medieval literature. Heavy metal guitarist. History nerd. Dan mainly works with general population clients and normal folks that want to achieve their personal version of the extraordinary. He enjoys learning about what makes people tick, and to that purpose has decided to pursue a PhD in Business, focusing his research on the psychological imperatives that drive customer behavior – Basically, whether you’re looking to lose a little holiday weight or up your nude game to 12/10, he’s got what it takes to lead to the Promised Land.