Train smarter, not more often


There's a trap that many of us fall into along our fitness journey.

We start off viewing functional training as a means to be happier and healthier, and then as a test of our progress and performance. 

Those of you that train for performance know the feeling of euphoria afterwards - and it's pretty awesome! This is why many of us keep going back for more and more. We think: 'Wow that was awesome, I want to do better next time'. That is such an awesome thought, and one of the wins that you can take away from regularly exercising, but it can be dangerous...

The trap

The trap happens when we walk off and think: “If I want to get better, I need to do more training.” The problem is: more does not equal better…better equals better! You don't need two or more workouts a day, with a strength-focused morning, spin session for an hour during the day and then maybe a High Intensity Interval Training class at night. For 99% of the population, this 'more, more, more' approach is just plain dumb.

Reece McCaffrey Deadlift

Intensity not volume

We need to change our view to being impressed by intensity, not volume. It's not that we need 'harder', longer or more workouts - we really need to focus on giving proper intensity to our prescribed programming. With intensity, you can make progress with even just three 30-minute workouts in your week!

Listen and plan your approach during the workout explanation from your trainer (AKA Recreate book club). One of the most frustrating things you hear as a coach is: 'That was too easy'. What we actually hear is: 'I missed the intention of that workout'.

Next session, give this a go: ask your coach what this workout should feel like and hit that intensity perfectly. Your coach might tell you: 'Here I want you to go all in' or 'This one is a long session, so pace yourself and finish hard'.

We need strength, mobility and conditioning - plus rest and fuel

Part of the issue with overtraining is the world of wearables that reward you on volume of training. Scoring more points is better. Training more often gives you more points. Therefore we choose an activity that gives us more points. We might end up choosing medium intensity cardiovascular style training, over strength or mobility work - but we need the latter to boost our performance!

We also need recovery time! Some of the most important 'work' for your body actually happens outside the gym.

Shannon Durrant Ski Erg

Recovery and fuelling your body are just as important as not overtraining. You don’t get stronger from more training, you get stronger by recovering from training. This is when your body does its repair work. Get good sleep, drink water, eat well and spend time in nature.

When we follow high-performing athletes on social media, we often don't see the hours and hours of mobility, stretching, rest-time or food prep that goes into their performance. We only see the personal best lifts and Ski Erg screens. But trust me - they need recovery, fuel, and to keep their body functioning at its best - they need rest. Just like the rest of us!

I love the quote: 'There’s no such thing as overtraining, only under recovering.'

If you train too often, you will get worse. The numbers don’t get better and you just get tired, frustrated and injured.

Work on technique

Instead, work on the skill of the movements that challenge you. Know where your weaknesses are and view these movements as your 'homework'. This is true for anyone wanting to be better. Pick a skill, and practise it. Want a better bench press, do more bench press, overhead presses, tricep work snd specific accessories. Want more mobility, try yoga, stretching, foam rolling and work on your key lifts and movements at a light weight to nail the set up and perfect your technique.

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Talk to your coach

Talk to your coach about how you can improve. We cannot emphasise how important this is. The coaches at Recreate Personal Training have tens of thousands of hours coaching experience and have a massive in-depth knowledge of training tools that will get you towards your goal, while looking after your body and mind.

I only select coaches who share the same values and understand the intensity and recovery protocols we believe in. Our coaches have also often been exactly where you are and can share their journey and personal coaching tips with you. We can talk about where you are now, and figure out the next steps towards that goal.

Be efficient, train smarter not more often.

- Reece #noexcuses