Let’s think of training in terms of something that will make sense to all of us: Money. In life, if
we overspend, we’ll find ourselves in a difficult situation. If we save our money and spend it
wisely we may be in a better position to pay bills when necessary.
Picture it like this: I give you $100 to “spend” on your training session. Ideally, you spend this
money based on what your training goals are for that particular day. What do you want to focus
on? That goal could be working on building strength on a particular exercise, doing more core
work or learning new technique. This $100 can be spent on any number of exercises.
However,certain exercises will cost more money than others. If you run out of money you’ll have nothing
left when you might need it, think of that like using a credit card. Exercises that cost more during a training session:
● Kettlebell Swings
● Pull Ups
These exercises require more energy, power and strength from larger muscle groups to perform for multiple sets.
Exercises that cost less during a training session:
These exercises, while still being full body exercises, require less overall to perform for multiple
Spending your energy on exercises that challenge you or get you closer to your goals is great.
Just remember, you have to distribute your money properly, you cannot spend it on everything
every single day. At some point you may have less money to start each training session
because you will be exhausted and potentially burnt out from overspending over time.
Let’s go back to the hypothetical $100. We’ll say that your training session is broken up into 3
● First Section - $30 on Power and Core Exercises
● Second Section - $60 on Building Strength
● Third Section - $10 remaining
As you can see, the money goes quickly. This example isn’t meant to deter you from working
hard during your training sessions, it is a reminder that everything has a price. If you train with
heavier weights on a particular exercise you should be doing less reps and vice versa. When
heavier weight is used during an “expensive” exercise it fatigues the body in a different way than doing more reps with less weight. Heavier weight (intensity) usually causes a more drained and weak feeling for a few days while performing higher reps per set (volume) can be felt as
soreness and muscle fatigue. You can do more volume or intensity for a given exercise each
day but you cannot do both.
Distribute your energy towards your training goals for that particular session. What do you want to work on that day? Where do you want to invest the $100? This idea can be scaled into a week timeframe as well. Let’s say that you used heavier weight for leg exercises on Monday, it is a smart idea to spend more money on upper body exercises the next training day instead of
working your legs hard again. This not only allows us to spend smart on a given training day but
to spend smart as we go through an entire week or month of training. It is important to be aware of where we devote our energy and how we can approach a given day or week so we don’t overspend.
Training can look different every day. Circumstances will change how much energy (money) we
have for a particular session. Things that can negatively impact your “$100” include:
● Recovering from being sick
● Coming off an injury
● Lack of sleep
● Training too hard for too long
Things that can positively impact your “$100” include:
● Active recovery (walking, light exercise)
● Training smart
● Getting proper nutrition, hydration and sleep
This approach is meant to help conceptualize training and how we can view it and plan for it.
The idea is to have money in the bank at the end of the week, month and beyond. If we train
smarter, we can train longer and if we train longer we can continue to pursue our goals.
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Michael has been working with clients in the gym and countless adults in a physical therapy setting since 2013. He spent 3 semesters working at Towson University with student-athletes from nearly every sport at the school. He served as the Strength and Conditioning Coordinator for Kennard-Dale High School during the 2019-2020 school year. His goal is to always get better and give you the safest and most effective use of your time at First Capital Gym.