Wednesday, October 1st marked a special day for me. It was the 500th consecutive day that I’d worked out. The streak started the day after I graduated from college, and it’s still going (today is 507).
Once upon a time, I would’ve thought that working out for 500 consecutive days was a big deal. That’s no longer the case; in fact, I think just about anyone can do this. The reality is that we’re all capable of doing a lot of work and that overtraining is, for the most part, b.s.
Now, does overtraining exist? It certainly does, but it’s such a hard state to reach that I’d venture to guess that no one reading this (including myself) is coming close to the threshold of overtraining.
One of my favorite bodybuilders, Jay Cutler, has been quoted as saying, “There’s no such thing as overtraining. It’s a word used by the weak-minded. There is only undereating, undersleeping, and the failure of will.”
“But Jay’s on tons of PEDs so this clearly doesn’t apply to naturals!” To that, I say nonsense. I know a ton of lifetime naturals (including myself) who train with as much – if not more volume – than many people who are on tons of PEDs, and we’re still doing fine.
Take the Tarahumara people of Northwestern Mexico, who can run for distances of 150-200 miles (or even more) in one session. And one thing’s for sure: they’re not on drugs, so what’s their secret?
Their secret is that they don’t put self-imposing limitations on their own capabilities.
Believing that PEDs are the only way you can train at a very high volume is an extremely limiting belief that will greatly lower the ceiling of your full potential.
If you’re wanting to push yourself to your full capabilities naturally, you’ve got to make sure that your nutrition and recovery programs are up to par with your training. Here are the not-so-secret secrets to how you can support an extremely high training volume:
Through the course of this streak, I’ve extensively studied and optimized various aspects of my nutrition and recovery programs.
And let it be known that working out isn’t all that I’ve been doing during this streak; it’s simply an activity I’ve committed to doing every single day, which leads me to my next point: the importance of automation.
In addition to optimizing several aspects of my life to help support my rigorous training volume, I’ve also automated many of these things so that the mental energy I spend thinking about doing them is miniscule.
3. Outstanding Nutrition
My diet is chock-full of great nutrition, and I’m taking in almost 5 lbs. of vegetables per day right now (as well as plenty of protein to support recovery).
4. Adequate Sleep
I always strive to get a full night’s rest every night (7-9 hours). There have been instances during this period where I’ve only gotten 2 or 3 hours of sleep, and I simply soldiered through and did what needed to be done. However, if you zoom out and look at the big picture, I do make sure to get enough sleep almost every night.
5. Smart Supplementation
And while I’m not at all a big proponent of dietary supplements, there are several I use on a daily basis that I believe help support my overall health as well as provide me with added joint support.
6. An Undeniable Will
Lastly – and most importantly – I’ve cultivated the will to do this, which is the most important aspect of all. If you have the intrinsic motivation to work out every day, everything else will fall neatly into place.
“That’s all fine and dandy, but I don’t have enough time to work out.” At face-value, that sounds like a fair excuse, but the reality is it’s not. We all have 24 hours in a day. 24 hours is a lot of time, and if you don’t “have time” for this, it’s more likely that it’s just not a high priority. Life is all about time management and prioritizing.
In the future, I’ll be delving into the nitty-gritty of my nutrition, supplementation, and training specifics of how I’ve been keeping this streak alive. But for now, I’ll leave you with a quote from Team Running USA coach Bob Larsen: “You can avoid overtraining by undertraining, but then you don’t win medals.”