So, that brings me to the title of the blog: should you train like this athlete, or any athlete for a matter? I think that you ought to sit down and think twice about whether or not you should be doing 1,000 push-ups per day. Far too often, too many people, almost mindlessly, decide that they have to follow the training regimen of the latest, most-popular athlete. That's problematic for a couple of reasons.
First of all, we have to take into consideration that whatever athlete's training regimen really is what they use to get into shape. There is no better example of this then Bruce Lee's training. I've lost count of how different ways that Bruce Lee trained, both in print and on the internet. Even though Walker is well-known for his high rep calisthenics workout, he still lifts weights. Often times, the workouts that you see are abbreviated, for whatever reasons.
Then, even if we know that we have their exact training in hand to follow, we have to make sure that it's right for us. There's a tendency to forget the fact that pro athletes are pros, in part, because they're physically very gifted from birth. Yes, I hate to play the genetics card but we have to keep in mind that some people are born with physical gifts. This allows them to pull off training that would no doubt leave most of us hugging the porcelain goddess. Their training doesn't make them special per ce. They're maximizing the gifts that they were born with. If you don't have the same gifts, then you're not going to get the same benefit out of it.
Even if you're born with the same gifts, then you have yet another consideration: is this training practical to your life? I don't think that people take into consideration exactly how much physical breakdown occurs during some pro athletes' training. Their job is to train.
"There is no such thing as over training, just under nutrition and under sleeping"
In theory, yeah that's true. Let me ask a few questions: Have you ever tried to eat over 4,000 calories a day to keep up with the rate that you train? Do you have the time to sleep 10 hours a day so you can give your body adequate recovery time? My guess is that you don't have that time. Your training probably isn't your livelihood so you don't have the ability to treat it like it is.
I don't want to turn this into post on steroids. My opinion on steroid use is well documented here already but we have to bring it up because it has relevance to this topic. Many pro athletes use them and we all know it. It's a large part of why they're able to train like maniacs. Steroids speed up muscular recovery dramatically, enabling their users to train even harder.
Then, we have to think of this: does their training really accomplish the same things that we might be going for? I know that a lot of us have our health in mind in addition to our other, more visceral and material goals. Well, most athletes training really deal with the latter. Not too long ago, I made this comment on Rosstraining.com:
The truth behind most sports (especially weight lifting sports) is that they don't really give a shit about being healthy. They only care about their health if it prevents them from doing their sport. Furthermore, their measure of their health is their ability to do their sport.
This is what Ross Enemait had to say:
Winning is what matters. An athlete who obsesses over health concerns would never be involved in a sport such as boxing. No one in their right mind believes it is healthy for a trained fighter to punch you as hard as he can.
It is a risk that competitive athletes are willing to take (at least temporarily).
I'm not here to pass judgement on how people train and why they train (well, not this time) but if you're in this for your health, then you really need to think twice about following your sports heroes.
Now, I don't have any problem with training to be athletic. I use my body for a living. I have to do physical labor frequently. So, I can't simply focus on making my body more sexy than it already is. I have wet dirt to shovel, hydraulic hoses to throw up on crane beds, pumps to lift, ladders to climb, and diesel cans to carry. I just don't see the point in training just like some of our favorite players and fighters do. It all goes back to the saying: you're unique, like everyone else. Train accordingly.