Train Smart or Train Hard?

On Training Hard vs Training Smart


I’m a big advocate for training smart. My reason? There isn’t enough of it. I’ve met handfuls of men and women that push their own threshold in the gym. Nothing wrong with that, at all. But as grinding routines popularize, and more and more people are testing their limits in Crossfit gyms, or with Ultramarathons, the coaching and programming needs to expand as well. Its a hardware vs software race, and the software will only be as powerful as the hardware will allow it. So as coaching and training becomes increasingly popular, so aren’t the quick methods in getting certified. In theory we are boosting up the hardware not in quality but in volume. This in-turn floods the market with cheap, useless technology, as the demand for better hardware is on the rise due to increasingly advanced software. If I want to play the newest PS4 game, all the PS1’s in the world wont get the job done.

Don’t get me wrong. I love intensity. It is a must to break through the norm. Its what makes the best athletes in the world. Intensity is great. But training doesn’t have to be so black and white. Train hard and train smart. Because you know, the best athletes in the world, they train smart. The best of the best don’t go balls to the wall, all or nothing every time, that’s just stupid. Any coach/trainer that has any lick of intelligence could tell you that.

But still, pop-fitness programs are on the rise that exaggerate the intensity. Why? Because that’s the coolest part, that’s the easy, fun stuff, its fluff. Whats going to get more hits, more sales, or draw a bigger crowd? An exercise program that is marketed beautifully by demonstrating elite-ness through images and language that emphasizes the grueling hardcore parts, and selling some sex as the icing on the cake OR an exercise program that demonstrates sustainability and moderation through periodization, and of course, you might have to think a little harder about what you are doing. A good coach/trainer will opt for the second, not falling for the facade of the prior. Why? Because option number one contains no substance, its all intensity, image, and sex. The second is a course, it is learning, thinking, challenging, it contains work, and while it doesn’t appear cooler, its far more suitable for the actual elites(and everyone else for that matter).


If you have to use an abundance of rocktape…

So what to make of this? Training smart is not sitting in front of a computer all day then using light weights on a bosu ball. Training smart is what every single athlete that makes it to College, Pros, or Olympic level commits to. It is training intensely when you are asked, or when it is needed. Its a combination of listening to your body and projecting into the future. I’ve seen far too many injuries come out of the intensity-only side because the ego is at the wheel. In contrast, the ego is put in the passenger side when you choose to actually engage intellectually about what you are doing.

Spartan’s were some of the most feared warriors, is that because they went into some berserker rage on the battlefield? Of course not. There are tactics in what is being done. Yes, they were as intense as they were strict. But they also were masterful tacticians. Thus I leave you with this:

Without strategy, courage is just ignorance.