November 18, 2021

Is Your Body Efficient?

Are you a well-maintained muscle car?

All of mankind is drawn towards efficiency. Wouldn’t you agree? In the 1970s many automakers embraced the American muscle car that was built with huge heavy motors. Efficiency in vehicles came with growth in technology, years of research and development, and a lot of trial and error. Out of the trials came countless victories! It takes time to achieve efficiency.  The same goes for your body. It’s a similar process that took place in vehicles. There is a process of training to make your body efficient.

The Different Levels of Athletes

How do we make our bodies efficient? When asked this question I have to remember who I’m speaking with. I speak differently to different types of athletes.

First are the athletes or fitness enthusiasts that are new to their fitness journey. They fatigue after a good workout and require more nutrition and recovery in the early years.

The second type of athletes or fitness enthusiasts I speak to are those that have a long-standing history in their fitness journey. They have achieved proficiency (not always efficiency) in their primary sport, training, or working out as well as success in their own health and nutrition.

Aside from the gifted athletes that are able to achieve amazing accomplishments in sports with less history, I mainly speak to people that work hard.  We work with a goal in mind hoping that the hard work put forth becomes easier. We want more body efficiency.

How do you know if you’re efficient?

In the fitness world, we look at being able to do a lot of work without using all of our energy. You can start to look at your energy expenditure by monitoring heart rate, using a power meter on your bike, or while running i.e. by simply testing how fast you go from point A to point B. If you follow a training plan that is meant to make you stronger through progression, my experience reveals that you can do the same amount of work this year with a heart rate that is lower than last year.

Options of “what to do” once you become efficient in your training.

  1. Find another hobby and maintain great fitness- ha!
  2. Do more work and get to the next level of fitness
  3. Workout for less time while achieving the same growth and adaptation you once did working out for more time

Have you ever tried to find a shortcut to work?

The answer to this question is, “Always.” Remember, we are constantly moving towards efficiency if we know it or not. Becoming efficient requires work, practice, and even strategy. Plus, working your body requires maintenance.  You’ve heard me say it many times but that race car (your body) you drive at 100mph needs tune-ups, alignment checks, and sometimes an overhaul.  As you become more efficient in your power output and workout execution you can get by with less maintenance, but maintenance is still required.  Meredith Kesseler, world champion IRONMAN athlete once quoted, “The training and racing is the easiest part of my week.  It’s the maintenance, stretching, and bodywork that is the most challenging!” This ties into my favorite example of referencing antique cars, “Antique and new cars both drive; but an antique car requires more maintenance.” – Casey Adams

Body Efficiency Examples

A renowned Tour De France rider mentioned that he equated being efficient in his cycling to being able to go to the store without filling up the gas tank in his car.  Another cyclist told the story of how his body became too efficient in his primary sport. He could do more and more work with less and less energy. His heart is able to deliver blood and oxygen to working muscles and remove lactic acid quickly! Sounds great, right? Just remember that every action has an equal and opposite reaction like Newton taught us. The result was, this efficiency lowered his metabolism. This was from decades of high-level cycling. He can now ride at a high level for 2.5 hours a day or more consuming only a few hundred calories for the entire day. Body efficiency.

Digestion and Body Function.

Let’s talk about inefficiency. A well-known Colorado Doctor explained how after each decade of life past the age of 30 we become less efficient in our digestion. Your stomach and small intestines become much less effective at their job and therefore one must consider food changes to keep up with the lack of effective digestion. The hard truth for me was that I had to eat less, regardless of the level of training I was doing. I didn’t need the calorie intake I used to in my 30’s. After 2 years of seeing the same challenges hanging around my mid-section, despite hours of hard training, I knew things were changing with my digestion. I began to eat different foods, cleaner foods, and at different times. The result of all this inefficiency was reducing the frequency of one of my favorite past times, eating, and I have become better because of it. I’m much more selective when I eat, what I eat, and why I eat. I have become more efficient.

Body Efficiency Can Be Achieved by Technique & Choices.

As an aging (not dying) athlete, I can’t outpower the younger athletes. I can meet or exceed their efforts with technique. I now work in form, I correct imbalances and can do more work with less energy: American Muscle (youth) vs a 2021 Toyota Camry (me now)! It also helps that as older athletes we spend less time at the bars, on our friends’ couches ordering pizza and tailgating (I hope).

Achieving Body Efficiency

Efficiency can come in a variety of different ways. Training in blocks is a great start. Repetition can eliminate wasted time and allow you to focus on pure movement, clear goals, and trying to grow through progression. Progressive block builds into a harder version of the previous one, then you pull back, recover, adapt and step up one level higher. Repeat this for 3 months you’ll feel the change.  Repeat it for 6 months, you’ll see the change.  Repeat it year after year and you will create a body that is efficient, strong, transformed, and fit.

Connect with Aspen Pro Fitness and we’ll do the work to build your program. Mankind moves towards efficiency. Are you doing your part or sticking with what you’ve always done?

A word from Casey about becoming Older, Stronger!

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