How Much Resistance Is Enough Resistance?


Think of effort as a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is sleeping and 10 is giving birth. If your goals are ambitious, your effort needs to be ambitious. Aim for ten minutes per week of effort as close to level 10 as possible, always putting safety first. If your goal is more modest, your effort can be more modest too.

When it comes to SANE eating, you can do as much or as little as you’d like depending on your goals. However, smarter exercise is a bit more binary. We’re either using enough resistance to exercise our clog-clearing type 2b muscle fibers, or we’re not. Less resistance doesn’t work our type 2b muscle fiber less. It doesn’t work them at all. So when it comes to exercise, we are either using enough resistance to trigger a dramatic clog-clearing hormonal response, or we’re not. There’s no in between.

This physiological fact is why it is so important to make sure we’re not just exercising less. We must exercise less, smarter. The smarter part is key, and is all about using as much resistance as you safely can. We must push ourselves to the absolute brink. That’s why we only exercise for ten to twenty minutes per week. It’s not because we’re lazy. It’s because the type of exercise we’re doing is so challenging that it is physically impossible to do it frequently or for a long time.

To illustrate this point, the researchers who wrote Body by Science put together this very helpful video that captures the level of intensity/resistance needed to experience the long-term benefits of smarter exercise (the first three minutes of the video are the most helpful).

Remember, if you are exercising smarter correctly, it will not be fun, and you will be sore. Very sore. For days afterward. But it will be worth it. Science proves it. Think of it like an immunization. You trade safe and short-term discomfort now to avoid life-threatening and long-term discomfort later.

You will know you have arrived at the right resistance and intensity levels when you stop questioning how exercising for only ten to twenty minutes per week leads to lasting fat loss and start questioning how you will walk up stairs for the rest of the week given how sore you are 🙂

Long-term health and fitness success is not about exercising less. It’s about exercising less, smarter. It’s about trading quantity for quality and getting dramatically better results in dramatically less time though dramatically safer and more challenging exercise.