How do I know if I’m doing enough

How Do I Know if I’m doing Enough?

Hi PDX Strength Tribe, 

Coaches have been reaching out to our members for the past few weeks now. We are introducing a variety of things in our virtual programming, but some folks are asking for different ways to use the equipment they’ve checked out from the gym. Probably the most common question we are getting is some variation of “how do I know if I’m doing enough?” 

Let me first start off with a quote from Dr. Brene Brown – “You are enough.” Every coach at PDX Strength believes that you, as you exist today, are enough. Every member of the PDX Strength Community deserves our respect, attention, and love without having to earn it through the bastardized norms of fitness culture. 

Now. Let me answer the question on the surface level with the 350 words or so I have left in the blog and understanding that we all have different equipment and goals. 

Before we begin to add to or design our own workouts, we should first assess how stressed our physical- AND mental-selves are (I know. You’re all thinking, “Seriously?! Just get to the sets and reps!” – 300 words left.) But, taking account of your current stress level informs how much additional stress you have the ability to introduce. It will also inform how much rest we need between workouts. We need to be careful here. Our lives and routines have changed, so our recovery needs have as well.

Second, we look at how much intensity we want to apply, or what energy system we want to use. (“JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” – 200 words left.) In general, there are three energy systems – Phosphagen (fast/short/high impact – less than 1:00 – think sprints, max effort, or strength/rep/skill work), Glocolytic (hard but sustainable/medium impact – between 1:00 and 20:00 – think kettlebell swings, wall balls, or burpees), and Oxadative/Aerobic (long effort/generally less impact on the body – more than 20:00 – think longer runs or rowing). 

Then we take into account the general movement patterns in strength and conditioning – divide the body in half (upper or lower) and consider we move towards the body or away from the body (push/press/squat or pull/curl/hinge) – 100 words left still no sets and reps prescription. 

Lastly, know that energy systems and movement patterns need about 24-36 hours of rest to fully recover (the greater the impact to your body, the more rest you need). No, this doesn’t mean that we can’t workout two days in a row, it means we need to rotate the energy systems and movement patterns we use. But depending on your goals you can add in a training bias. If you want to be a better runner, do more aerobic work. If you want to be stronger, do more strength work (5x5s). 

Please note that this isn’t about finding the systems’ (and your) breaking point. It’s about finding a sustainable level of effort over time. 

Now you have yourself the greatest little puzzle since that 5000-piecer you finished this week. 

More questions? Ask your coach. 

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