Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not the Most Possible, The Least Necessary (aka Minimum Effective Dose)

"In fact, if anyone's crazy it's me. Because I'm the one who recommended this program to her. She actually asked for more exercise. But I capped her at 4 workouts per week and 32 minutes.

"The workouts looked like this:

"2 sprint workouts - 6 minutes each
"2 circuit workouts - 10 minutes each
"The results?

"Well, in the last 16 weeks Marsha lost a whopping 20 pounds of body fat. She dropped from 150 pounds to 130 pounds. That's nearly 2.5 pounds of fat lost for every hour spent in the gym. Want to know how she did it? If so, read on."


PN Head Honcho J Berardi continues:

"As I said above, Marsha could have worked out much more than 32 minutes per week. She could have willed herself out of bed extra early to do some low intensity cardio. She could have given up her recreational activities and stopped hanging out with her friends after work in favor of hitting the weights. She could have delegated more of her wedding tasks or quit one of her jobs. But why would she do any of that?"

JB's right - for many adults, keeping your body ready for life isn't something you can indulge five hours a week, and you probably shouldn't, if there's an alternative.  And in the rest of the article, JB points out how one can use a "least necessary" approach.

But, you say, what if I'm weak and deconditioned?

"Weak and Deconditioned - So What? During the first week, Marsha was so deconditioned that she couldn't actually complete any of the workouts. For example, she could only do 3-4 push-ups. And only 4 rounds of the circuits. Even though it was hard for her ego, she showed resiliency and kept going.  Remember, progression means doing a little more each week. So that's exactly what she did. By the end of the 8th week, she was able to do a GI-Jane-worthy 20 push-ups. And she was able to do 8 rounds of sprints at 8.0 mph on a 12% incline. I'll bet she's glad she hung in there."

JB even quotes
"The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris calls this the "Minimum Effective Dose." From the book:

"The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.. Anything beyond the MED is wasteful. To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it 'more boiled'. Higher temperatures just consume more resources that could be used for something else more productive.

If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach."

JB then goes on to describe his on MED program; have a look, print and keep the article handy, and read the links he's attached.  This is gold mine of info for the motivated but busy person who knows:
1.  Exercise is necessary to have the best life
2.  Most of what people think is "exercise" is an exercise in wasted time

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