The WSJ recently reviewed a book by the coach of Michael Phelps (famous Olympic Swimmer). The book talked about his extraordinary training regimen (50 miles of swimming per week, etc.).
This works great if you are a 20-year-old young man comprised mostly of testosterone. But for most, it is a recipe for pure burnout.
Super hard work and extreme training is one of the biggest myths in American pop culture. Many disciplined people need to learn how to train less.
Tim Ferriss and Malcom Gladwell in fact just discussed (in their recent podcast) how most top coaches have to restrain their athletes from training too much.
I should also mention I recently watched Heejin do three workouts per day (yoga, Pilates, and long hikes) while also working full time, and she ended up passing out for the entire weekend with flu-like symptoms (classic overtraining).
Stephen Covey in his famous “Seven Habits” book also talks about the need to “sharpen the saw” (Habit #7) in order to remain effective. He was referring to the need to take time off for physical, social, mental and spiritual R&R.
In any case, I love this topic b/c I used to be motivated by all the mythical work habits of many successful people, and I drove myself far too hard a result. I zapped away my creativity, I was a far less effective manager, I damaged relationships, and I was not happy.
When business coaches literally forced me to take more time off, every aspect of my life improved.
Learning how to take time off and to work effectively in less time is one of the most important skills professionals can master, Michael Phelps aside.
Someone needs to write a book about all the athletes who learned to train less. It might not be as motivational, but it would be more honest :).
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