The best way to add muscle, gain strength or lose weight is to establish the minimum amount of training needed before more becomes counter-productive, says John Berardi
Dr John Berardi is a nutrition and exercise coach, sport scientist, author, and a founder of Precision Nutrition. He is based in Toronto, Canada.
f you want a tan you need time in the sun. But there comes a moment when you pass the point of benefitting from staying out in it any longer. In fact, too much exposure actually becomes counter-productive because you’ll burn. And the damage done will also prevent you from going back outside the next day or the day after. The result? You don’t get the best tan possible.
What you should do is find the minimum effective dose of sun exposure before calling it a day. And the same is true for training and eating to get the best results possible, yet many people fail to realise there is a minimum effective dose for both.
Find your limit
Working out too hard for too long is counter-productive because you’ll reach a state of over-training and have to spend time out of the gym recovering. And if you’re eating six meals per day, do you actually only really need three to gain the same amount of muscle mass? If so, you’re wasting your time and money cooking and eating.
Science hasn’t given us an answer yet as to what the minimum effective dose is for hypertrophy, strength, or endurance training. Neither has it provided an answer for optimal nutrition.
But you can self-monitor. The easiest way to know whether you are doing more than is necessary is ask yourself how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling burnt out, then you are, and need to back off.
If you haven’t added any muscle, got stronger, or lost body fat for a while, then the chances are you either aren’t hitting the minimum effective dose needed, or you are doing too much and not giving your body enough time to recover.
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