How you train and recover matters. Over time, both good and bad, training and recovery habits compound to drive you in the right or wrong direction.
The below four training types are fitness level agnostic and can be commonly identified across all levels and types of training. The ‘Over Training / Injury Zone’ highlighted in each diagram below exists for everyone but depending on your own personal fitness level it may take more or less effort to reach it. The four commonly identifiable training types are as follows:
- Optimal Training
- Sub-Optimal Training
- Inconsistent Training
- Over Training
As the name suggests, this is optimal training. This is where everyone wants to be and with the right coach and mind-set this is where you should be. Optimal training has two key identifying traits:
- Train Hard – Those performing at an optimal level are consistently training hard and pushing themselves close to their limit without over doing it.
- Recover Properly – After a hard training session you are actually less fit than prior to it in the short term. It’s the recover phase that makes you fitter. To consistently perform at an optimal level you must also consistently recover at an optimal level. Every correct recovery allows you to again empty the tank in training and push yourself further again.
You can see from the graph the Optimal trainer is consistently training hard and recovering properly which is making them fitter and fitter over time.
Sub-Optimal training is unfortunately the zone that most fall into without the assistance of an experienced coach or indeed when the motivation is not there. Sub-Optimal training is identified primarily by the following:
- Not Training Hard Enough – The key identifier of sub-optimal training is not pushing yourself hard enough. Skipping sets, skipping exercises, working with weights or resistance that does not challenge you, or simplifying exercises are all habits that can lead you to sub-optimal training.
- Recovery – Recovery here could be optimal. Rest and nutrition on point but you are unable to get the maximum benefit due to not pushing hard enough in training.