Lately I’ve had to repeatedly face the challenge of focusing my training time. It began when a former client started asking me a few months ago how to properly integrate all aspects of fitness into her schedule, which lead to interesting discourses on training in general. This coincided with my own realization of just how much time I had to micromanage if I were to achieve all my goals simultaneously. The result is that I’ve been revisiting and reviewing the issue of focus and my stance thereon.
Until about this time last year, I was training twice a day, six days a week. Sessions lasted 30 to 90 minutes and covered just about everything I could imagine needing to cover: lower body strength and power, upper body strength endurance, general power endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance, and skill work were all incorporated somehow. This meant a lot of time, a lot of different exercises, and a lot of writing and calculating. At the time I didn’t think too much about cutting down my training time because I was improving everything – building a wide, solid foundation of fitness, which is what I want. Now, though, I find that not only is it more difficult to manage my daily schedule, I am less certain that everything I was doing was entirely necessary to achieve that level of general physical capacity. For instance, I used to put in roughly three hours of running a week. Now, however, I’ve effectively removed running from my programming simply because – other than preparing for a race – I don’t see how the health benefits of running cannot be achieved by another exercise that I might enjoy more. Rowing may not burn as many calories per hour, for instance, but I enjoy it more and find it more beneficial to respiratory training and recovery efforts.
I have also been studying the length of each workout. I realized last month that my main workouts – as opposed to short, focused sessions that usually last around fifteen to twenty minutes – take about ninety minutes to two hours. Early Sunday morning, this isn’t a big deal because I have the entire day. At six in the evening on a Tuesday, though – with eight hours of work the next day – ninety minutes seems like a lot of time to spend not eating or sleeping.
The logical conclusion seems to be that I should dedicate more effort to trimming down workout time. Cut rests, remove non-essential exercises, etc. However, this raises the issue of whether I would then have to accept lower standards in certain areas.
The old journeyman standard of 10, 000 hours was meant to ensure sufficient time and effort had been put into learning one’s chosen trade. While no one is quite as strict with counting hours nowadays, it still stands to reason that developing proficiency means a lot of practice. Consequently, if you want to become proficient in multiple areas, you need to spend even more time training. Can I – as someone with a very wide range of fitness goals – actually reach my target proficiency if I reduce the time I spend working on each one?
The issue of focus cannot be easily resolved. While the beginning of this post may have made it seem that I was resolved to lower training time, I remain uncertain that doing so will not have any negative effects – at least not negative effects that I can accept. A more detailed analysis is in order.
For now, I suppose that one of my catchphrases will have to suffice: “Figure out your life.”
Today’s workout is a power endurance fuckfest I dreamed up the other day, based on the Gym Jones workout of the same name. It replaced yesterday’s scheduled recovery work because I was feeling pretty good and kind of ornery. I did not feel so at the end.
5min Row @ progressive pace
2×5 Wall Squat
2×5 Overhead Squat @ 30lbs
2×5 Jump Squat