One of the great complisults I’ve gotten as a coach was from a woman in my Booty Camp class. Booty Camp happens to be all extremely dedicated ladies who come to the gym that I teach at every morning at 6am and take what is offered. I designed this class to compliment the other three days a week these women spend with trainers who take them through various metabolic conditioning circuits with bodybuilder splits in the 3 sets of 10 range. To put it simply, I programmed the class based on what they’re not doing. Booty Camp is 2/3 yoga, 1/3 Easy Strength modeled after Coyote Point Kettlebell Club (and minus the sandwiches). One of the women who was new to the class told me “I thought your class was too easy because it was just a lot of getting up and down off the floor, but after the last thing I suddenly realized I was really beat!”

A big problem I see with casual exercisers is that they get used to one kind of “tired.” People think in terms blocks on their Outlook Calendar so that means their workouts are 60 minutes. They also want the most bang for their buck so they tend to either spend as much time on an elliptical as they can (ladies…) or do as many variations of chest and bi exercises as they can in that hour (men….). Trainers and class instructors have only exacerbated this problem by programming to that 60min schedule and feeling like they have to give people bang for their buck so they will come keep coming back. The result is people only ever experience one kind of tired: “as much work as I can cram into an hour” tired.

But does your body know what an hour is?

Different goals require different kinds and amounts of “tired.” Being generally prepared for life means getting some experience with a lot of them. Strength and conditioning is just movements times volume times load divided by time, so here a few variations to try.

Getting stronger: you need to be tired of picking up very heavy things, with one or two reps left in the tank. This usually takes 10 reps per full body movement or 15-25 for half-body movements. I can bang this out in 20 minutes with movements I’m used to, up to 45 minutes with new movements.

Going faster: you need to be tired of accelerating. In sprinting this can take as little as 1200 meters of total volume. 

Going farther: you need to be tired of moving forward. In a 5k you can train this in 20 minutes. In marathon this means training up to long runs of around 22 miles.

Fat loss: you need to be a little tired of always watching what you eat.

Muscle gain: you need to be tired of eating food.