I came late to the lifting heavy information. For my teens and 20s, I was a 3×10 (set x reps) guy. I lifted as heavy as I could for that many reps but it wasn’t true heavy lifting.
Then, 2 or so years ago, I read about lifting super heavy for 3 sets of 4-6 reps and it changed everything. My physique, my strength, my efficiency.
The added stress on my body skyrocketed my results.
Recently I listened to Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I loved the straightforward, contrarian-type thinking put forth in his book. It was particularly cool when he advocated heavy lifting.
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One of my takeaways from the book is that exposure to “bad” or negative things can actually be good, at least in limited quantities. Stated another way, living in an optimal environment all the time softens us up.
As such, I’ve purposefully interjected stressors into my life. Sometimes this comes artificially. Other times, I just go with an already occurring deviation.
For example, the other day I only ate one meal on day 1 of a business vacation. Eating one meal (less than 1,000 calories) is not recommended but it didn’t hurt me. I went hungry. I added a little stress to my body.
Another example would be sleep deprivation. This is definitely sub-optimal but if I happen to only sleep 2 hours in a 24 hour span, it won’t hurt me. It may help me because I’ll be so tired, I’ll get high quality “dead” sleep and my body will fully rest and recover.
When I add stressors, it’s rarely calculated and often random or circumstantial. The point is simply to become more robust (Taleb’s word) or maybe even antifragile somehow.