Coaches Corner:

“It’s training, not just exercise.” 

That’s what I always have to keep reminding my staff and my clients. It’s the reason why I got into this business, and why people from pro athletes to 68-year-old grandmas seek out my services. Because training and exercise are not the same thing. 

I want to train people — for performance and for life. I want to make them better — now and a year from now. You want mere exercise?  Go to a Group-X class at your local gym and jump aup and down for 50 minutes. Work up a good sweat. But do you want learn a system that’ll make you faster, fitter, better — and teach you how to stay that way long after you stop paying me?  That’s training — and that’s what I always wanted to do, starting with myself and my friends nearly two decades ago. 

Maximum Overload is the end result of all my years oftinkering and strategizing about training, of objectively evaluating the body’s strengths and weaknesses, assessing progress from one point in time to another. It came about because I dared to ask the question “why?” Why, I wondered, are we just doing what has been done in the past? Why do people in the gym do 3-sets- -of-10? Why do cyclists train the same way cyclists did 30 years ago — and never touch a weight? Why do aerobic athletes only do aerobic training? Why do athletes add strength but ignore power, the thing that they really need to win the race?  

Because they don’t ask why.

Knowledge gets passed down from generation to generation — but how sensible and effective is that knowledge to start with?   The “why” is often times never really understood. So I insist that my coaches and clients understand the “why.”

Maximum Overload is a work in progress that I’m hoping will spur knockoffs and improvements. But I think its big idea— that weight training is essential for building an endurance athlete’s maximum sustainable power — is undeniable. Here’s why

Endurance athletes, and particularly cyclists, require a high power-to-weight ratio.  Most endurance coaches focus on the aerobic engine and how to sustain the highest percentage of an athletes Vo2max (absolute aerobic power) for the longest period of time.  Little attention is spent on how to produce more sustainable power in the muscles, particularly the legs.  If you can train your legs to produce greater amounts of power on over long periods of time, you don’t deteriorate as fast. That, in a nutshell, is the goal of the Maximum Overload program. 

Again, why look only at Aerobic Power?  Why not see if our bodies with proper training design will be able to produce greater and greater amounts of power?  Could you train less? Could you be a better version of your current highly-fit self?  Could you take power outputs to a level you never thought possible?  This book, the Maximum Overload philosophy and the relentless pursuit of maximum sustainable power are based on these“whys.”

Ultimately, There’s no compelling reason to ask why if all you want is exercise. Just lace up your shoes and go for a run or do a boot camp.  But if you want to be a better bike racer, a better masters athlete, a fitter, more functional, more robust grandparent who lives life to the fullest while your peers are locking themselves in prisons of inactivity, you must be trained. Maximum Overload is your training.