The Three Pillars

Training, Nutrition, Recovery

(Originally posted at

So I’ve got an admission to make – I watch the Biggest Loser.

It’s not so much for the heartwarming stories and pop psychology, though.  I watch it because I know my clients watch it.  And I want to know what’s going in to their minds regarding strength training, fat loss, etc.

Normally,  I cringe every time I watch a training session.  Last week, however, Jillian Michaels made a great point – that sometimes people can get overtrained.  The key in any good training program, then, is balance.

There are essentially three pillars to all good training programs – training, nutrition and recovery.  Training gets the most exposure, as it’s the most easily controlled over the three.  Many people inherently know that if they want to get in better shape, they better start working out!

Nutrition has come a long way in the last 5-10 years.  Gone are the days of high carb diets (think rice cakes and fat-free everything), as are the days of truly low or no carb diets (’cause bacon goes with everything!)  Balance in your diet/nutrition is important as well.

Where many people miss the boat, however, is recovery.  Recovery should be simple – get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, stretch in between workouts, foam roll, etc.  But how many people actually do these things? Many people are shocked at how much better they feel, and how much harder they can train, when they simple get enough sleep.  It sounds simple (and it is!), but it makes a profound difference.

If you really want to maximize your fat loss or sport-specific training goals, you absolutely MUST balance training, nutrition and recovery.  Make it a goal for the next 4 weeks to focus on recovering as hard as you train – I’ll be interested to hear how you do!

Stay strong



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  1. You make a terrific point Mike. One of the most efficient ways to enhance the intensity of your training sessions, is to start them fresher. As intensity is the most potent facilitator of fitness gains, it’s blatantly obvious that recovering better is CRITICAL to fitness improvement. Sluggish sessions, sluggish results.
    Do you need to make time to recover better, or train more? Ask yourself that question before your next workout.
    Glenn Kemp

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