Following last week’s post of “slow & steady”, I think we
need to re-assess our self-grading.  I think we often can fall into a habit of getting down on ourselves if we feel like we’re not training enough, doing as much as we “should”, or not
meeting some self-imposed standards.   Even small efforts or incremental steps can pay off towards your long term fitness or skill goals.  
I was reading an article about an Outdoor Circuit Training program on Swiss Army Recruits (Journal Strength & Cond Res, 26(12): 3418-3425, 2012).  The researchers added one 50 minute outdoor circuit workout to the “standard” training protocol of 1X/week for 70 minutes (How this level of “standard” training can be considered reasonable for army recruits is beyond me.  Maybe since the Swiss will never be called on to defend anyone or
anything, they can enjoy lower levels of fitness in their military?).  The group that performed the additional training showed “significantly greater improvements in trunk muscle fitness, postural control, and total physical fitness score” compared to the control
What strikes me is that they didn’t have to go to some super-duper, Cross-Fit, Ironman, Olympic, Paleo, high intensity, metabolic, split 7-day regimen in order to make significant improvements.  They added one 50 minute session.  Granted, they were inexperienced and barely fit to start with, but hey, a little extra effort showed big results.  If you are fairly fit and decently trained, results may vary.  But maybe finding 50 (more) minutes to stretch each week would help you recover or recuperate.  Or a 30 minute walk after dinner.  Or 20
more pushups at the end of each workout.  Or one more serving of vegetables.  Developing the habit and taking the initiative is often more important than the actual event or what you’re doing.

Training should be a long term initiative and we’re looking for progress, not perfection.  It can be easy to get discouraged, especially as you age. I know that I can’t train 5-6 nights per week for 2-3 hours a night like I did when I was in College.  Life, jobs, family, kids, travel all have an influence on what you can do/not do.  I always encourage people to do what you can, when you can.   It all counts, so get out there and do

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