Minimal Dose Maximal Results
Last week, my post, “Top 8 Tips for Being Fit Over 40” got a ton of engagement. Thank you to all of you who read the post, commented, or reached out personally. It’s always a good feeling when your message strikes a chord with your audience.
If you missed it, my top 8 tips were:
Don’t get hurt
Eat like an adult
Mobility is king
Risk averse exercise selection
More low intensity aerobic work
Minimum effective dose
More low impact power training
There was one idea that I wanted to delve into a little deeper this week, and that is the idea of “Minimum Effective Dose.” (MED).
Minimum effective dose is defined as the smallest dose needed to produce the desired outcome.
When we put this in terms of fitness, minimum effective dose is the least amount of work you need to perform to produce your desired results.
I know, it sounds too good to be true.
Therein lies the issue. When it comes to diet and exercise, we always think that we need to do more. Now, before I go too much further, there are some of you who do need to do more. But, there is a large percentage of you who just need to identify the MED and let the rest take care of itself.
Anything more than the MED is a waste.
Here’s an example: “To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it ‘more boiled.’ Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.” –Tim Ferris, The 4 Hour Body
When it comes to your body, there is a MED to trigger a cascade of fat loss and there is a MED needed to build muscle. Anything more than the MED is just a waste of your time and resources. Triggering these responses in the body is much easier and requires much less energy than we think.
If some is good, more is better!
More isn’t better, better is better. When it comes to health and fitness, quality trumps quantity every time.
The “more is better” mindset is not sustainable. At a certain point, adding more exercise and dietary restriction can push you even further from your goals. Or even worse, you quit all together.
What if I said you didn’t have to workout 5 hours a week and live on a diet to be fit? You could still have a life outside the gym without sacrificing results.
The most important lesson to understand is that you don’t get better in the gym. You get better based on how well you recover from what you did in the gym. “Work hard, recover harder” should be your motto. Exercise is not a punishment, it’s a time to express how strong and powerful you can be.
Tips to finding your minimum effective dose:
Listen to your body: You shouldn’t constantly feel beat up or run down. That’s a clear sign that your body is overworked and under recovered. There are times to feel sore following tough workouts, but you should not live in a beat-up state.
Check your motivation: You should be motivated and excited by the gym. If you regularly have to force yourself to the gym, or often think that it’s the last place on earth you’d want to be, that’s a clear sign that you’re overdoing it.Track Performance:
Training performance should improve from program to program or month to month. If you feel like you begin to regress for no reason, you may want to dial it down.
Listen to you head: Are you constantly stressed about when you’re going to make it to the gym or what you can and can’t eat? Your head is telling you to slow things down. Living healthy doesn’t need to be stressful.
Track you mood/performance/body comp: Test out different training volumes (amount of time you spend in the gym per week). Measure your body composition before and after to see how your body reacts. In addition to body comp, track your mood and physical performance. If you notice you’re irritated or more stressed than normal, you’ve exceeded your MED. If your energy levels are high, your mood is stable, and your performance is improving in the gym, you know something is working.
Eat to fuel your body: Living on a diet never works! The key to long lasting change is to approach the way you eat as a lifestyle. You’re a person who cares about their health and fitness, so you eat like a person that cares about their health and fitness. The food you’re putting in your body will affect you in one of two ways: it can bring you closer to your goal or push you further away. Consistently eating real whole foods will help keep your MED at a managle level.
MED dose differs from person to person so it will take some trial and error, but once you figure it out, I promise your life will change.
If you have any questions, or need some help with finding your minimal effective dose please e-mail me. [email protected]