Thoughts on the Organism

I’m heading out really quickly but I wanted to get your ideas on something:

I’ve been thinking lately more towards the human body being linear and not broken up into days like we have been doing. As humans we tend to make blocks we call days, each one a new entity when really life is one long day with lots of recovery periods that we like to call sleep (kinda like a phone recharger). If we think about the human body this way, it’s easier to see the effects of overtraining and undertraining come into their respective lights. Whether we’re doing the right thing and why some athletes progress with so called “bad trainers” and “crap systems” is because of how they’re monitoring their bodies. They’re getting proper rest and nutrition, and a long enough period to recover between sessions so that they’re relatively fresh and ready to go. We talk about training adaptations and how we have to always be changing stimulus, this would make sense with a one day many recovery periods based approach. It’s easier to see where deloading would come in too because it’s judged on the ammount of recovery and approximately when the individuals body will start saying “No.” Think of it as one continuous day from when your born to when you die, only theres time frames (on average 6-8 hours) every so often that are needed to recharge the system. Days don’t exist, and therefore the body can be monitored on a session to session basis which means the mould of the program is ALWAYS versatile and ALWAYS changing.

I hope that made sense?


Makes sense. Your body doesn’t care what day it is. Just because it’s Monday doesn’t mean it’s speed day to your body. However most peoples’ life schedule (or training group) dictates this hourly/daily/weekly schedule to be adhered to.

Yes try telling my boss or the gym owner that days dont exist. I will stick to my daily schedule for now, but your thoughts are for the most part correct. However might want to think about the circadian rythm and how these effect bodily cycles, as well as the bodies natural reaction to different environmental factors and you may see it is not quite that cut and dry.

How would this make sense?
Why a single lifelong day would require and justify variation of the training stimuli more than the conventional day by day approach?

A conventional approach doesn’t take into account day-by-day events (unless closely monitored) such as fatigue etc because it is a long term plan. My approach would be long term, however, implemented over the short term in “daily” (recovery period to recovery period) cycles. For instance, 5 week “mass building” plans that amature bodybuilders use or any other “plans” which are day1 do this day2 do this etc. For one person this may work but for another it might be a complete failure and that really comes down to how their body will adapt to it. I think it’s important to have a large toolbox of methods both in training and recovery and be able to implement those, or have someone guide you (like elite sprinters have) on a time based approach. You might have a great session in the gym and your plan calls for another high intensity day in 2 days. Obviously, this may not be possible so it’s important to consider the recovery from the successful workout all the way leading up to the next scheduled workout. If the athlete/client has had proper rest and nutrition then it might be fine to implement it, and if they havn’t, to lay off. Basically what I’m trying to relay is that the human body has to be looked at as one continuous and always changing organism. Day by day will only go so far because there are so many factors to consider. Schedule might say tempo, but maybe its best to rest. Vice versa. Etc. Looking at the “yearly plan” as one long day with rests allows you to take these factors into account and dependant on the phase the individual is in, use certain “tools” from the toolbox in order to make that phase most effective.

As for circadian rythems, it is an inbred device of our bodies but we have been raised from birth on that type of schedule. There are truck drivers who sleep all day and work all night at the same rate of effectiveness as the rest of us…it is all relative.

Right. I think schedules are very important though, don’t get me wrong! I’m just saying that to say you should be doing this and this on the day is RELATIVE and it all depends on tightness of the muscles, how much recovery the individual is had, etc etc. Maybe it’s best to still do back and bi’s but instead of deadlifting becuase the CNS is worn to do lat rows. The same “general schedule”, just with a “by the ‘day’” approach in order to accomidate. I think the problem with overtraining and undertraining, as well as many other issues lies in the fact that a lot of people are completely naive as to how to accomidate. It needs to happen otherwise progress will plateau.

Are you just talking about contingency?

Obviously a coach does not stick to a strict schedule if there are confounding factors, thats why coaches go to practices and dont just send athletes a workout each day.

Yes but a mainstream approach and a way to integrate it into the average individual. Like, I think SOME coaches have the right idea when they think about training schedules but a lot do not and think more is better, etc and are not closely monitoring their athletes. I think the athletes should be be able to monitor themselves after a certain ammount of time training with the coach (especially in team sports) so that everyone is working on perhaps the same thing, but at a different level so that no one is falling behind from overtraining (or undertraining).

I think all of that can and should be done using a convential approach I do not think that thinking of it all as continuum makes sense especially with the high dependence on daily structure of civilization

Have you ever seen the types of workout plans that say “choose one from the following” and it has a list of exercises? That’s the type of approach I’m looking at except the choose one column is based upon the last workout and how the individual feels at the time of choosing. For instance, an athlete with a coach on leave for whatever reason would, from previous experience, be able to pull from memory a list of exercises (from his “exercise toolbox”) he could do for that particular session (speed, strength, etc), and then do them. Basically a way of integrating a coach-athlete relationship into the mainstream population who are still involved in sports, but not monitored 24/7. All they’d need to know is what the purpose of their session is, learn about different exercises and set/rep schemes which they’d be doing anyways, and what each exercise/movement is aiming to accomplish. Different cues for each and then monitoring their bodies over a few months realizing what seems to be working and what doesn’t. For myself I find it easier to think of a continuous day with recovery periods but for others, such as yourself, it’s easier to think in day blocks. Regardless, your always juding by what you FEEL and not what the paper says you should be doing.

So to summarize:

  1. Education for set/rep schemes, exercises, movements, etc all in one location
  2. Monitoring the body and seeing what works
  3. Adjusting to accomidate
  4. Monitoring of overall progress

For about 2 years I was following powerlifting routines for my particular level and I was seeing results, but it wasn’t till I started looking at what elite athletes and their trainers were doing. The only difference was they were taking a generalized routine and moulding it based upon how the athlete felt and how fast their progression and recovery were. So the reason I suggest a theory like this one , which isn’t so much a “theory” as a different way of thinking about things, is so that non-elite athletes can gain a competitive edge through education and not succumbing to the flex mag type workout. (Do 3 sets of 12 reps of overhead presses and you will have boulders for shoulders…etc…what if the athlete was just climbing yesterday and needs a recovery workout?)

Agreed, those steps should be part of any good coach/athlete relationship.

I think I’m going to write an article on this. If at least one aspiring athlete reads it and learns to be self sufficient, I’ll be happy. :slight_smile:

Be sure to post this article you write up here R3. I’m keen. :slight_smile: It’s a firmly held belief of mine that training programs that are too rigid will eventually be detrimental.

It goes back to the old evolutionary theory stuff – we didn’t evolve from strictly timed interval running. I know timing sessions is a good way to measure gains, but I think nature is smarter than ANY manmade training program.

In other words, if I feel up to doing 8 200s on a day when I’m supposed to do 6, then I’ll do 8. And I should do 8, because my body is capable.

Michael Johnsons weights program was 3 days per weak. However, he would choose which of those 3 days per weak would include weights. It wasn’t allways every OTHER day. Sometimes it was 3 days in a row, so long as the sessions got done.

Personally I think athletes need a “back up” option (to take advantage of when they’re really “up” for some training and don’t want to wait another day before doing the sheduled session. Also, incase they miss a session, they can make up for it later in the weak.)

Justin Gatlins approach was to do on the sixth day anything he missed out earlier in the weak.

Lately I have totally re-adjusted my training options by doing the training as soon as I feel like it and not “waiting” for scheduled session.

Also I have “split” training for upper and lower body, but yesterday I trained my whole body becuase I had the energy to. One of the muscle groups was trained 2 days in a row.