Intensity: How Much is Enough? Too Much?

In peak training phases, Michael Phelps will swim at least 80,000 meters a week, nearly 50 miles. That includes two practices a day, sometimes three when he was training at altitude.

All elite athletes face the dilemma: How much is enough versus too much?

Most athletes however it’s a case of too little and too infrequently.

Too often, there is a reluctance to going full-on with training when it’s the fastest and usually the safest way to create breakthroughs.

Intensity, Focus, Drive, Determination, Sports Psychology, Champion Mindset, Mindset Of A Champion

The challenge is knowing WHAT to do to push yourself beyond your current limits into a new realm of possibility. Unless you “up” the intensity, you’re simply not going to get those all-important quantum leaps you want.

Depending on your sport and level of proficiency, intensity can means doubling your on-court time, doubling or tripling your running or swimming distance, increasing your gym visits, yoga or aerobics classes to 2/day instead of 3/week…

You are the best judge of what ‘intensity’ means to you – one thing is for sure, you need to go beyond your comfort zone – ideally to total exhaustion (without injury or pain) or as close to it as you can.

What you’ll quickly realise is that you’re capable of much more than you’re currently doing.

What set Michael Phelps apart from all other swimmers is that he aimed to become the best swimmer HE could become.

Michael Phelps and his coach NEVER set any limits. His autobiographical book’s title reveals his and his coach’s mindset “No Limits“.

My message to you today is simple and straightforward – what limits have you placed on your training or playing?

What time limits?

What frequency limits?

What intensity limits?

1 Response to “Intensity: How Much is Enough? Too Much?”

  • Hi Marc,

    This applies to everything, not just athletics. For developing Electronics Products or writing the Embedded Software that goes with them you also have to go beyond what you know you can do if you want to achieve an outstanding success.

    I have done the impossible a couple of times because I didn’t know it was impossible. As it turned out, it wasn’t impossible, just very difficult and counter to popular wisdom. But it did take hard work and it was a huge stretch.

    I have also been a competitive athlete so I understand how that fits with what you are writing.

    In “The Dip”, Seth Godin make the point that the last 2% is what makes a huge difference. In training, the first 98% takes you to where you can already go. The last 2% takes you beyond that and that is where all the growth and gains come from. Very few people go there.

    I love the picture. What a great example of single minded focus on a single purpose.

    Ray Keefe
    Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd
    Casey Business of the Year 2010
    Industrial Electronics Future Award Winner 2011
    Award Winning Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development

Leave a Reply