In order to optimise your training stimulus, you must ensure that the conditions are perfect for this to occur. Make sure that your diet is balanced and that you eat plenty of starchy carbohydrates, for instance rice, pasta, cereals and pulses. A simple rule is that if you are exercising regularly, it is very difficult to eat too much, if what you are eating is low in fat and sugar. Diagram 1 shows that if you eat the correct foods, your recovery rate will improve, allowing you to train more frequently. Also superior nutrition will provide you with the energy and reserves to train more intensively and for a longer duration, eliciting a greater overload and the benefits associated with it (as shown in Diagram 2). This diagram shows how a greater overload will elicit a more significant response and hence better fitness gains.
If the session is a short one, aimed at Intensity, then your ability to tolerate pain is key and you must focus on the task at hand (If it doesn’t hurt, you weren’t trying hard enough). You should always aim to make your current session more intense than the last one. For a session aimed at developing endurance, the overload should be based on duration, not intensity, so you should be looking at riding for longer in each session or succession of sessions (frequency). Diagram 2 clearly illustrates how a greater overload offers more significant benefits, yet requires a longer recovery period.
Recovery has already been mentioned as a very important factor, but it is not always necessary to recover fully after every session. Diagram 3 shows how you can accumulate an overload over a number of sessions and as long as you rest for longer at the end of the series, you will still derive benefits. This is how you can use the frequency of training to generate an overload.
Confused? Well, hopefully not too much. I will continue to expand on these issues over the coming months to provide you with a clearer picture, but sometimes it’s best to hear it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ as they say, and then you can iron-out any queries you have once and for all. If you’re interested in learning more and want to give me a grilling, either arrange for a private consultation, or book onto the next TORQ fitness weekend