There is a reason engineers look to nature for solutions to their problems, because when evolution develops an idea it’s been researched and tested not over a few weeks like an under grad project, not over a couple years like a PhD thesis, but over thousands of years if not hundreds of thousands of years and across thousands and thousands or even millions of test subjects. When evolution devises a process or a design, we know it stands the test of time.
We have taken the concept of velcro from the little fish hooks at the end of the little arms of burrs that we have to pull off our clothes after a nature hike, we have taken echolocation used by bats to navigate and developed radar and sonar technologies, we have taken the aerodynamic shape for bullet trains from the shape of the head of birds that dive from high in the sky into water at hi speeds to catch fish (eg kingfisher bird). Nature doesn’t disappoint. Its solutions are exceptional and that is why we seek new bacteria in hopes of finding new drugs that could be turned into medications (i.e. bioprospecting), its why we search to understand how our world works and the worlds beyond us.
How we develop is as divinely designed as everything else in the universe. Evolution has developed a training methodology and every human baby follows this methodology to go from being fully physically dependent at the time of birth (babies do not have the muscle strength to lift their own heads at birth) to within 12-18 months developing the strength, the endurance, the coordination, the balance and the agility to be able to walk and run. And within another few months, toddlers are able to skip, hop, jump, even hang from monkey bars holding their full body weight… what many adults have difficulty doing.
How do babies train… through hi repetition technique training (HRTT).
Have you ever seen a baby require a heart rate monitor, HR zones, or a power meter in order to ‘improve’?
Have you ever seen a baby do all-out efforts in order to try and hit a major developmental milestone?
Have you ever seen a baby grimace in discomfort, suffering in pain while crawling, practicing rolling or standing?
Yet this is exactly what sport science and exercise physiologists and what coaches will have you believe is the way to train.
As a physiotherapy student, in my second year I took a course titled ‘normal pediatric neuro-muscular and motor control development’. Physiotherapists study the pattern that human babies follow to ‘train’ themselves in order to be able to lift and then hold up their head, to be able to roll, crawl, scoot, sit, stand and eventually walk and run. There is a normal healthy process with specific timelines for each milestone, and there are also abnormal patterns which result in delayed development of motor skills.
Evolution over long periods of time has designed hi rep tech training (HRTT) as the manner in which to gain strength and endurance in order that skills and abilities are gained. If evolution has done the research then there is no other way, there is no short cutting the system to get better results.
Long story short, hi intensity interval training (HiiT) was designed by scientists performing shitty science in an attempt to short cut the system, performing research over weeks and with only a handful of test subjects and based on the outcomes is undoubtedly mired with subjectivity and bias. On the other hand HRTT has been designed over millennia… and has been tested on countless species of mammals before it was handed over to humans.
HiiT leads to injury, illness, burn out, blow outs and max outs.
HRTT leads to ….only success because have you ever heard of a baby developing injury or illness or burning out on their way to learning how to walk? How many babies need massage appointments or rehab sessions as a result of ‘over training’ or straining a muscle or joint… NEVER!
HiiT is the shit science way of attempting to short cut what is the shortest way to healthy performance… the processes evolution has designed.
HRTT is nature’s way.
Which one do you think is the smart way, the healthy way, the right way?
What sport science and exercise physiologists are proposing is that they know better…better than millions of years of evolution. HiiT is indeed epic… epic levels of arrogance and nothing more. Humankind has been around for a split second across all of time, yet we are going to claim superior knowledge to millions of years of evolutionary trial and error. Now that is arrogance!
Babies are born and are all ‘naturally gifted’ with what to do. Babies don’t need coaches, they don’t need HiiT sessions, they don’t need injury rehab because they don’t injure themselves ‘training’, babies don’t need anything to become awesome little people who are running, climbing, jumping, swinging and most of all having fun. I think being able to do all those things from being completely physically dependent in a matter of 2 years is astounding. Meanwhile, adults who can barely climb a flight of stairs, or walk for more than a few minutes… think they can skip the ‘baby’ steps of training and go straight to pro level training targeting an event like a half-marathon or a sprint distance triathlon or a grandfondo with just 10-12 weeks of training. Its arrogance… and nothing more (and then on top of it all we are shocked that we end up injured, ill, or worse develop like many pro athletes hormonal issues, joint issues, cardio-vascular issues like arrythmias or enlarged hearts, or worse… end up dead from an heart attack or stroke).
I’ve been asked why I don’t coach the Burlington Masters Swim Team (BMSC) anymore: its because while in the position of head coach of BMSC I was ‘accused’ by the President of the club of coaching “too much like a physiotherapist”. The President stated that the membership felt like I didn’t know how to coach like a “real coach”, you know… a coach who writes up hard, no… not just hard but painfully hard, insanely hard workouts that make everyone suffer and whine in pain of how hard they were ‘made’ to train by their coach… you know HiiT sessions on tight pace times that are near impossible to make without harming yourself.
Right… I don’t know how to coach, yet the arrogant a-holes who call themselves coaches do?
Its now some 4 years since I left BMSC to start my own teams – TOEST & TOETT – so that I could coach ‘like a physiotherapist’ and somehow every single athlete on our team competes regularly: at swim meets, MTB, running or in multisport events such as aquathlons and triathlons, meanwhile out of the 120+ membership of BMSC you would be hard pressed to find more than a few, a dozen at most at a swim meet. Tiny little TOEST (our membership is at most a 1/5 of that of BMSC) beat BMSC at every swim meet this year in total point standings… and that’s with a team made up predominantly of people who just learnt to swim in the past 2-3 years!
Sorry… what was that again? I don’t know how to coach. Uh-huh…
Check the ‘Results’ tab from the main menu of both our TOEST & TOETT websites to see just how bad our athletes are doing being coached by someone who ‘coaches like a physiotherapist’.
In 2016 – my last year of coaching BMSC – the membership of BMSC hit an all time high in its 25+yr history as a swim club with 143 registered members!
And not since the years of head coach Dave Judd (who coached the team for 15+yrs) did the team have as many swimmers competing at meets as in 2016 (4th highest with 55).
And it was at this same time that the BMSC President accused me of “not knowing how to coach”… funny, eh!
Just another one of those all-knowing experts (like exercise physiologists selling HiiT as the fix for performance) claiming to know everything… yup…exactly… and just look at the stats now to see how that President ‘fixed’ the club.
Meanwhile, our tiny little team (which was built from scratch) where only three athletes have had prior training & racing experience and everyone else learnt to swim in just the past 3-5 seasons, placed consistently in the top during the MSO 2019-2020 swim meet season: 3rd/23 teams @ Guelph F&F, 3rd/21 teams @ Alderwood, 5th/35 teams @ Stephen Forsey.
This is what a properly educated & experienced coach can do… take a underdog team and lead it to a higher level of performance than a team with far more depth and width (i.e. ability level & number of athletes | e.g. BMSC).
NOTE: the MSO 2019-2020 season came to an early close as a result of the Covid19 pandemic with MSO Provincials and the season finale Milton Masters Spring Splash Swim Meet both ending up cancelled (this explains the fewer # of swimmers & swims at swim meets).