Drunk On Training
Think back to your first night in college. Your first time being free and on your own, the only natural response is to get absolutely hammered. You have a dilemma though. You are only 19! The bars are out of the question, so you end up at a house party paying $5 for a solo cup you fill up with some kind of unknown substance you learn to be called jungle juice. You gulp down that sweet nectar of the 22-year-old seniors that overcharged you at the door, and next thing you know you are waking up the next morning with a splitting headache and thinking “how the hell did I get so drunk on only 1 drink?”. Was it because they laced it with some sort of rohypnol? Possibly. More likely it was because the only other time you had actually drank any alcohol before was when you stole a few sips out of your grandmothers wine glass, or gulped down a couple of lukewarm cans of piss water at a high school party. Isn’t it funny to look back to that first night of college to when one drink got you at least buzzed, to now when you’re guzzling down multiple craft beers not even feeling their 12.5% alcohol content. That is because our bodies adapt to that alcohol consumption similarly to that of training.
Think back to the first time you ever really trained, or even trained a client for the first time. Remember how sore you were? Now jump back to the present and think about how much more you have to do to feel that soreness. Now, I am not saying that soreness translates to a training stimulus, but in this case let’s say that it does. The reason that we feel so tired and sore after that first training session is because we have never experienced this stimulus before and our bodies are attempting to overcome this stimulus. Now, after we have revisited this stimulus multiple times, it becomes easier and the training affect is decreased due to the law of diminishing returns. Which is why the first time you do a Smolov type program, it is never the same when you repeat it.
If alcohol were training, and one shot gets you drunk. Then why are you taking 3 more shots? You’ll end up blacking out, and we all know how much longer it takes to recover from a black out, and then you don’t ever want to drink again. So what is the solution? Start out slowly. When we first start all we really need is one shot to see results. The least amount of volume necessary to get you a training effect is what we want. Why? We want as little volume as possible so that a year or two down the road when one shot doesn’t get us drunk anymore we can go up to one and a half or two. Imagine if we had been drunk at one shot then taken another just to fit in with everyone else. We would eventually adapt to that two shots then a year or two down the road we’re having to drink three or four shots to get where we want to be all to see the same results we could have potentially seen if we had started with just one shot then moving up to two.
Managing our training volume is how we ensure prolonged success. Having the ability to increase volume marginally over time and still getting the desired training effect is how you identify with an educated coach. Progressive overload has always been the name of the game and if you’re not progressing, perhaps it is time for a change.
Written by: Drew Shoemaker, Head Trainer and Owner