Every year, before I go on vacation, I train myself into the ground. It’s my little way of “earning” the laziness, partying, and eating that ensues. But another reason why is supercomensation, which basically means the bigger hole you dig the longer it takes to climb out.
It’s a risky strategy if you aren’t in tune with yourself. I can’t say that I always am. Last year I tweaked my back, back firing the entire process. But this year I nailed it thanks to Dan John and The 40 Day program and Even Easier Strength. I have to also thank Bret Contreras for releasing some good articles on daily training such as his interview with John Broz. But if you take note of both forms of training, Dan’s is much “easier” and suited for the “average” human.
Training everyday was something I’ve always wanted to try out. Not like bodybuilding split rotations, but rather doing the same thing day in and day out. I never went for it because it isn’t optimal for hypertrophy.
My ten day stint, however, impressed me so much that when I came back from vacation I knew that I had to keep doing it. Truthfully, I’m in love with the simplicity and inherent boredom that accompanies falling into a daily routine. To spice things up, I add kip-ups, handstands, and other gymnastics elements to my routine. I’m having a lot of fun.
The biggest surprise of training daily is how insightful it is, as Tim Anderson can attest to. Monday marked day one of my attempt to train for forty days with no rest. The previous twenty days of training nearly every day haven’t gone by without notice, however. Here’s what it has taught me so far.
- It teaches you work capacity. You’re not that guy that deadlifts on Monday and still feels it on Thursday anymore
- It teaches you the importance of leaving the gym fresh. Your joints thank for you this.
- It teaches you strength. Somehow. But it does.
- It teaches you strong. It’s no longer lifting 495 while your eyeballs pop out of your head. It’s about making 225 easier to lift on day five than on day one. Despite what you want to think, that’s because you’re stronger.
- It teaches you discipline. Forcing out extra reps easily pushes you across a boundary. But you’ll learn that it’s unnecessary. You’ll be back tomorrow.
- It teaches you real autoregulation. You’ll be able to finely tune in on your body’s performance.
- It teaches you to forget the small plates. 45’s, 25’s and 10’s. That’s all.
- It teaches permanent change. Doing something every day leaves a greater impression than doing something once a week, regardless of volume or intensity.
- It teaches you that the warm up is the workout. Fifteen minutes of chin-ups, swings, goblet squats, pushups, and bat wings is a solid workout, regardless of the five exercises you choose.
- It teaches you health. Using smaller loads makes injury less likely.
- It teaches you how to live to fight another day. Leaving reps in the tank isn’t frowned upon.
- It teaches you patience. You don’t win or lose in one day.
- It teaches you the importance of showing up. Some days, weight on the bar won’t matter as much as going through the process.
- It teaches you that you are what you repeatedly do.
- It teaches you simplicity. Pick five things and that’s your only focus. Forget the variations, volumes, intensities, and schemes.
- It teaches you mastery. You’ll never look at your choice lifts the same again. If you thought they were easy before…
- It teaches you recovery. You’ll know if you really deserved the day off, of if you just thought you did. A day off won’t always mean feeling better the next day. If you feel worse, you didn’t really need the day off.
- It teaches you efficiency. Nothing is wasted.
- It teaches you love. Because if you enjoy every second of every movement, showing up on a daily basis can be difficult.
- It teaches you the importance of what Dan Gable said. “If it is important, do it every day. If it’s not important, don’t do it at all.”